Archbp. Vlazny rebukes Catholic pro-abortion Gov. Kulongoski (D-OR)

Bishops far and wide are getting involved this year.

My emphases and comments added to this article from the

Archbishop takes Gov. Kulongoski to task over abortion-rights event

by Dave Hogan, The Oregonian

Tuesday September 30, 2008, 10:22 PM

In a rare political clash, Roman Catholic Archbishop John Vlazny criticized Gov. Ted Kulongoski for hosting an abortion-rights event Friday in Portland, two days before the church holds its annual Respect Life Mass.

Vlazny on Tuesday called on Catholics to express their displeasure to the governor’s office after parishioners brought the event to his attention.

"This is a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community," Vlazny said in a statement. "For a Catholic governor to host an event of this sort seems a deliberate dissent from the teachings of the church." [Precisely!]

Parishioners tell archbishop of event

Kulongoski spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor said that although he has nothing but admiration and respect for the archbishop, the governor has been a longtime supporter of abortion rights. [So something has moved the Archbishop into action.]

"This is not a new issue," Richter Taylor said. "In his 35 years of public service, he’s always been upfront about his position as pro-choice." [And yet I don’t remember stories about such a clash with a bishop there before.  Thank heavens it is happening now!]

Kulongoski and his wife, Mary Oberst, are honorary hosts of the 6:30 p.m. fundraiser for a national abortion-rights organization at the Portland Marriott Waterfront. Oberst, who also is Catholic, is scheduled to speak. Choice Celebration Gala 2008 is expected to draw about 500 people.

Kulongoski has not hosted the Naral [!  Not just any old pro-abortion group.] dinner before, but he has been a speaker and has purchased tables for the event, Richter Taylor said.

Consistent in pro-choice support

Although the Catholic Church has long taken a firm anti-abortion position and Kulongoski has been a consistent supporter of abortion rights, it was the timing of the two events that prompted Vlazny’s statement, said Bud Bunce, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland. [The timing… and not the fact of it happening?]

The archbishop was not aware of Kulongoski’s previous participation with the Naral fundraiser[Okay] Bunce said, but parishioners called his office this year "and said, ‘Are you aware that this is happening?’" [Good.  Once he knew, he acted.]

The Respect Life Mass will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northwest Portland to celebrate "every human life, from conception to natural death."

Vlazny, who is normally reserved in his public remarks, used unusually strong language in the statement.

"For a Catholic to have a private disagreement would be one thing," [though wrong] Bunce said, "but to be so publicly involved with this abortion-rights organization that he would actually host their gala for them, [Thus committing a very grave public scandal.] I think that prompted the language and the sense of urgency the archbishop might have had to make a statement at this time."

After a Vatican cardinal said in 2004 that politicians who support abortion rights — such as Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. — were not fit to receive Holy Communion, Vlazny said he refused to bar Catholics who publicly disagree with church teaching from receiving communion. He did ask, however, that Catholics refrain from communion if they found themselves at serious odds with the church.

Kulongoski, who was raised by nuns in a Catholic orphanage in Missouri, now attends Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Salem. He continues to receive communion there, Richter Taylor said.

"When the governor was a young boy, he was taught that a good Catholic was one who believed in the sacraments, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the social teachings of the church of justice and fairness for all people, [except for the unborn?] and throughout his more than 35 years in public service, it is those values that have guided him," Richter Taylor said.

Dave Hogan;

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  1. Mark says:

    Do you think that the tide is beginning to turn, and as more and more bishops begin to speak out, more and more will gain the courage to do so as well? It seems like all of a sudden there are a lot more bishops speaking out publicly. Did they not speak out before because they were just afraid to, and now they are gaining strength in their numbers? Maybe we have something to thank Nancy Pelosi for after all.

  2. Volpius says:

    Lets not get carried away His Excellency is still afraid to make personal judgements using his own authority which is why he still allows this man to commit sacrilege by receiving the blessed sacrament.

  3. Thomas says:

    Kulongoski…was raised by nuns in a Catholic orphanage….

    I wonder, does he see any irony here? Would he have made it that far in today’s moral climate?

  4. cheyan says:

    In all fairness to the archbishop, if he were to say, “Mr. Governor, I forbid you from receiving communion,” the odds are better than 75%, probably better than 90%, that Kulongoski would still receive, and probably get an outpouring of sympathy, which would serve to confirm him in his belief that he’s right and doesn’t need to change and the Church is a bunch of meaniefaces who don’t want to share their crackers during snack.

    Giving an order that you can be fairly certain will not be obeyed is only useful if you want to make a point – “look, he’s not obeying me!”

  5. Jerry Boyd says:

    Good beginning for the Archbishop but he has a long way to go. His Archdiocese budgets considerable money for social justice issues (some of which flows to organizations which are anything but supportive of Catholic Church teaching). His Archdiocese does not budget one penny (zip, nada) directly for “Respect for Life”.

    Being a resident of Oregon there is absolutely no way I will be convinced that the Governor’s positions in opposition to Church teaching are just now coming to the Archbishop’s attention. They are, and have been for years, widely known and a matter of the public record. Either the ABp has lived in a vacuum for years or has up until now chosen to simply ignore the Governor’s scandal.

    As I said, the ABp has, finally, taken a step in the right diretion. Pray he will not now drop the ball on this issue but, rather, will do even more to make known the Governor’s defiance of Church teaching.

    The Governor’s spokesperson has been quoted as saying that the Governor has received no feedback from Catholics since the ABp’s public chastizement. Not quite true but apparently he hasn’t received much. Good idea for Oregon Catholics to bombard the Governor with feedback. Maybe that (unhappy voters) will get his attention even if the ABp’s comments don’t.

  6. John Enright says:

    cheyan said “the odds are better than 75%, probably better than 90%, that Kulongoski would still receive . . .”

    I don’t know about that. If the Archbp. said “No” and the priests under his jurisdiction faithfully executed the Archbishop’s order, then Gov. Kulongoski would not receive the Eucharist even if he was brazen enough to flout his exclusion from sacramental participation.

  7. ioannes says:

    Cardinal O’Connor refused to accept their position, writing in 1990 that Catholics who opposed the church’s teachings on abortion by “advocating legislation supporting abortion, or by making public funds available for abortion … must be warned that they are at a risk of excommunication.”

    “If such actions persist, bishops may consider excommunication the only option.”

    It is about time they start heeding the good Cardinals words. No more “you shouldn’t receive communion.” But a formal declaration of excommunication. The head in the sand approach hasn’t worked and has only led to more confusion and scandal.

  8. Kazimer says:

    Perhaps it is a mixed blessing with these so-called Catholic Politicians being taken to task : Pelosi,Biden and now Kulongoski.

    I hope more and more bisops take similar actions to high profile and public people.

    If these people continue to persist in their open defiance of the teachings of the Catholic Church causing and contributing to Catholic public scandal, thne the Bishops banhammer should be swiftly applied so they are not to present themselves for Holy Communion.

  9. cheyan says:

    I don’t know about that. If the Archbp. said “No” and the priests under his jurisdiction faithfully executed the Archbishop’s order, then Gov. Kulongoski would not receive the Eucharist even if he was brazen enough to flout his exclusion from sacramental participation.

    I’m not sure. Supposing every single priest faithfully executed that order – and I don’t think every single priest in a large diocese even in, say, the 1940s would have been thus compliant, much less now – I still think the governor’s odds of receiving are much better than even.

    I think about my parents’ parish, where it would be possible to receive communion without the pastor so much as seeing you, because there are two EMHCs with ciboriums, neither of whom stand next to the priest. I think about the parish I attend now, where there are five EMHCs with ciboriums, four of which are not in the priest or deacon’s line of sight. At the parish I used to attend whenever I visited my grandmother, the priest sat down after dividing the hosts into ciboriums, so everyone who came forward to receive received from an EMHC. I don’t think every single person whose parish allows them to be an EMHC at Mass in the diocese of Portland would comply with the Archbishop’s order, even if every single priest did, and that’s a mighty big if. (Besides, at my parents’ parish, EMHCs are strictly enjoined not to refuse anyone communion, no matter what!)

    Certainly, if there were no EMHCs allowed, or if EMHCs were only allowed so that all who received communion had the option of receiving under both species, then yes, if all of the priests under the Archbishop’s jurisdiction were to comply, Gov. Kulongoski wouldn’t be able to receive communion… in that diocese.

  10. Volpius says:

    Cheyan for Kulongoski to disobey the Bishop regarding receiving Holy Communion would require the cooperation of a priest, no priest equals no blessed sacrament making it impossible for him to receive communion.

    If His Excellency can not command the loyalty and obedience of his priests and can not guarantee that they will obey his just commands given in line with the Church then he needs to do something about that even going so far as to excommunicate the priests in question.

    Anyone who does not obey the Church has already broken communion with the Catholic community anyway whether they care to admit it or not and excommunication would merely be a recognition of that separation. And it is important that the separation is formally recognised to prevent the kind of scandal we are seeing all the time were people are saying things contrary to Catholicism and still claiming to be Catholic.

    Catholicism is a system of belief, how you belief defines whether you are Catholic or not if you believe something contrary to Chuirch teaching you dont belief like a Catholic believes and therefore aren’t Catholic. To say otherwise is like saying you can still be an atheist if you believe in God.

  11. Alan says:

    Hmmmm. I only see weakness and lack of enforcement of normal Church teachings. The Bishop has always been weak and the Governor knows that he is wrong. Both should be replaced.

  12. Carolyn says:

    For those of us who have known the Archbishops ways, there usually is another motive. If he said these words to the Governor AFTER he was alerted to this…AND was also supporting the Right to Life with ACTIONS and not just WORDS, many of us Oregonians would feel like there was a change of heart with him and not just a plea for more money. For, he has been losing money in his yearly Appeal and now they want a good Pro-Life face on so that the Campaign for Human Development can get their due so the good pro-lifers in the pews, in my opinion, can feel like there is something to believe in again.
    For me,when “unborn Justice” gets 1/1000th of the funds that anti-Catholic groups do through groups like homosexual/abortion rights Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon affiliation and other mock Catholic social justice groups…then I’ll believe he’s seen the light.

  13. Rick says:

    It’s about time this diocese changed its past course. As you may know, the Catholic Sentinel and diocese, were influential in tipping the closest gubernatorial election in a century to Kulongoski?!!

    What a disgrace. Aren’t there about 1500 Oregon “state funded” abortions a year? Disagree that we Catholics are responsible? Get into the archives and read the editorials and articles in the Sentinel at that time – right down the Democratic Party line. Review the statistics on Catholic population in western Oregon, and the amount Kulongoski won by.

    In our parish, even in the last election, after parishioners listened to the homily on, and were read the Archbishop’s letter about voting for pro-abortion candidates, at coffee hour a prominent parishioner, Eucharistic minister, was saying, “Of course Catholics are “PRO-CHOICE”. Why argue with him when the message WAS so ambiguous most people could easily understand that the Archbishop and pastor supported an “Abortion is a private matter” position.

    No need for me to point out how this goes beyond personal sin and weakness – it promoted murder through the Church.

    Who is going to go out and apologize to the Catholics who left looking for a more “Catholic” teaching, instead of the garbage we’ve suffered from these last 40 years? Tens of millions, minimum, lost the Faith, and it may well have brought down western civilization. We’ll soon see.

    This doesn’t even touch on the Liturgy with fire-eaters, and stuffed animals puppeted at the congregation during Mass and then being sat in the acolyte’s chair and on the Ambo, etc. etc! Isn’t the sanctuary our “Holy of Holies”? Is the Ambo, where the Word of God is proclaimed an appropriate place to sit Teddy Bears and Bullwinkle toys? Makes the audience, I mean congregation laugh though, doesn’t it?
    I understand that St. Ambrose kicked the Caesar of his time out of the acolyte’s chair and sanctuary, but now characters of Bullwinkle can sit there. Bet that emperor is steamed!

    Do you wonder why I avoid any donations where even a penny will be sent to the chancery?

    Now, perhaps I’m being a little harsh, when it looks like the Archbishop has finally found the… courage or some would say backbone to say something. What can be done to convince we few Catholics that have believed everything the Church teaches, that we may have turned the corner?

    Humm…. How about this? What say Archbishop Vlazny goes to the hospitals in his diocese that go by the name of “Catholic” and has them stop giving morning after pills or injections. Don’t even pretend you don’t know this is happening, or believe the BS that this can’t cause an abortion. Remove them from our emergency rooms!

    Next, how about stopping sterilizing people in our “Catholic” hospitals – particularly confused Catholics.

    Next, how about he start taking seriously complaints about Liturgical abuse, instead of innovations being published in the Sentinel as if it’s normal.

    Next, how about realizing that most people in positions of authority in his parishes do not believe everything the Church teaches which makes them … unfriendly to those who do. How about a “Statement of Faith” like eastern Oregon is blessed with?

    Next, how about teaching the clear loving truth about our family and friends who are afflicted with sexual disorders? It is possible to love them without participating in their parades and blessing their sins.
    Etc. Etc.

    On a positive note though – it appears more new priests believe “everything” the Church teaches – in the sense that She intends. Looks like a few Papists have infiltrated the seminary!

    Through the prayers of the Mother of God, oh Savior save us!!!

    Miffed on the coast, under Archbishop Vlazny’s watch,


  14. Diana says:

    Archbishop Vlazny, in his press release dated September 30, 2008, (see writes:
    “I call upon our Catholic people to express their displeasure to the governor and to remind him of the demands of personal integrity as a member of our faith community in the exercise of his office and public activities, 503-378-4582.”

    Notice Archbishop Vlazny provides the Governor’s phone number; this number, I discovered, is a message number.

    Does anyone think it odd that the Shepherd would send his flock out to do his work/job? Especially in light of the fact that “Catholic” Governor Ted Kulongoski & his “Catholic” wife have always been open about their support for pro-abortion organizations (from speaking at their fund raising events to participating in their pro-abortion parades to financial contributions)and through the years Archbishop Vlazny has remained silent.

    I certainly did; so, very curious as to what is motivating the good archbishop to speak up now (very out of character), and why he is sending Catholics to call the Governor, I called the archdiocese and spoke with Bud Bunce, Archdiocesan Director of Communications. I asked Mr. Bunce, did Archbishop Vlazny speak to the Governor about this issue before asking Catholics to call the Governor? He responded, he has not spoken to the Governor. Governor Kulongoski has always been open in supporting abortion organizations, I said, why is the archbishop speaking up now? The Archbishop didn’t know, was Mr. Bunce’s answer. (I’ll keep my comments to myself here).
    I asked, why is the Archbishop asking us Catholics to call the Governor, isn’t this his job to talk with the Governor? I’ve never heard of a bishop using this tactic before. Archbishop Vlazny is exploring new territory here, is this how the Church is going to handle pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians now–ask the laity to call the politician’s message number and express their displeasure? Finally, Mr. Bunce responded, I guess this is new territory.

    I do not know where Archbishop Vlazny was or what he was doing while the laity were calling the Governor’s message number. I just hope that maybe he called the same number and left a message too!

    In all honesty, I do not recognize courage here…..far from it.

  15. Anne says:

    BISHOPS: You gotta pretty simple job description: TEACH! GOVERN! SANCTIFY! Not less, not more.

  16. Anne says:

    Rick, in Bishop Vasa\’s diocese next door that pro-choice EMOE would have been released from all duties on the altar, and possibly refused Communion as well. My first reaction was you should have immediately informed your pastor because any priest would not allow someone promoting abortion on parish premises at a parish function to ever again distribute the Body of Christ….but then I saw your comment that the pastor seemed to go along with that mentality. This is what leaves some of us really on the verge of losing hope and leaving the Church. I think we can count on one hand the five good priests in this archdiocese, and also count on one hand the five good bishops in this nation.

    We are all indebted to Archbishop Burke for getting the ball rolling in 2004, the bishops getting some spine now would never have if he did not valiantly lead the way alone. We see a gradual emergence of a bit of courage from some of the ones who aren\’t completely lost, then more will join, and then hopefully it will be a situation where they look like fools if they don\’t speak out because most are. Pope Benedict\’s comments to these guys during his visit is what instilled the real momentum here, have no doubt. The critics complaining that the Holy Father was not tough enough did not listen carefully to that talk in the basement. These bishops knew precisely what he was saying, he said it clearly enough for anyone who understands the background.

    This is why there is a change now, these 2 factors: Burke in 2004 and Pope Benedict in April.

  17. Anne: I want to add something. Bishops have in a very serious way the cura animarum.  This is a serious charge.  They are not merely the bishop of those who agree with them.

  18. Rick says:

    Anne –

    Thanks for the comments. It’s nice to hear from someone who understands or even addresses the issues. Not like writing a letter to the chancery where it either disappears into a black hole, or the response doesn’t address a single point.

    The EMOE who was pro-choice was just confused – or mislead might be a better word. I was pretty angry until one Sunday I saw his wife (who was dying of cancer) watching him at Mass. She was so proud of him for being an EMOE. This is what gets us to heaven now – being some kind of a minister @ Liturgy. Not much I can do about it, and no need for me to address it if the Archbishop and pastor won’t.

    Oh, a quick aside. A couple months ago Mass began with the instructions, “Let us rise and “greet one another with our gathering song”. It reminded me of a young Muslim who attended Mass and told me at mosque their attention was directed to Allah, not to each other like as with our Mass.

    Yes, Bishop Vasa is a real Apostle and Servant. When friends return from his diocese I hear good things even about priests who are (or were) weak. When they open their mouths (in front of the laity) they speak what the Church teaches! Perhaps from a holy fear. It seems at times we are all children and benefit from a firm hand and close watch from our superiors! God Bless him. Isn’t this the true gift of being “Pastorial”? – not being liberal!

    Over the last 20 years I’ve seen many retired Catholics return to Mass. Often they’ve disregarded Church teaching since childhood and are now returning, believing that Vatican II did away with “Old Church” doctrine and morals. They move into prominent positions in the parish, and the overworked pastor desperately needs their help. Because of their baggage, that they haven’t repented or confessed, they … use a lifetime of skills against orthodox Catholics. The parishes are in disarray, and even very solid pastors don’t seem to be able to figure it out.

    That’s the genius Bishop Vasa’s “Statement of Faith requirement”. We could consider the various healing aspects of this for hours – yes?

    Through the prayers of the Mother of God, Oh Savior save us!


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