Catholic Democrats Scolded on Abortion

Religious News Service
Saturday, March 11, 2006

Top U.S. Roman Catholic leaders told Democratic lawmakers yesterday that there is no wiggle room in church teaching on abortion and that they are duty-bound to work against "the destruction of unborn human life." The statement by three top leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a response to 55 Catholic Democrats in the House who issued a public statement Feb. 28 asking for room to disagree on abortion.

The bishops, in turn, said they were willing to work together on issues affecting the "poor and vulnerable" but would not budge on church teaching that says abortion is gravely immoral.

"While it is always necessary to work to reduce the number of abortions . . . Catholic teaching calls all Catholics to work actively to restrain, restrict and bring an end to the destruction of unborn human life," the bishops said.

The three bishops who signed the statement were Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, head of the bishops' Pro-Life Activities Committee; Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, who heads a task force on Catholic politicians; and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, chairman of the bishops' Domestic Policy Committee.

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), who spearheaded the letter on Capitol Hill, said in a statement that she appreciated the bishops' response but did not address the bishops' rejection of Catholic lawmakers' request to respectfully disagree with the church on abortion.

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