Bishops far and wide are getting involved this year.
My emphases and comments added to this article from the OregonLive.com.
Archbishop takes Gov. Kulongoski to task over abortion-rights event
by Dave Hogan, The OregonianTuesday 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!]
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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org