Pro-Life Groups: Kerry Can’t be Both Catholic and Pro-Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups: Kerry Can’t be Both Catholic and Pro-Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 29, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is coming under fire for backing abortion on one hand and saying he adheres to the Catholic faith on the other.

Kerry recently drew criticism for using Scripture to attack President Bush and taking communion while on a skiing trip in Idaho.

In his 2003 book, "A Call to Service," Kerry said "I am a believing, practicing Catholic, married to another believing, practicing Catholic."

At the same time, he says the Catholic Church, which takes a strong pro-life position, shouldn’t have authority to tell elected officials how to vote on abortion issues.

"I don’t tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn’t tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life," Kerry said in an interview with Time posted on the magazine’s Web site Sunday.

But his views on abortion are causing an uproar among Catholic leaders.

"People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there’s a problem of John Kerry and a political scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of stances, particular abortion," a Vatican spokesman said.

But the Pope isn’t the only leading Catholic troubled by Kerry’s pro-abortion stance.

"John Kerry … is going to have a very hard eight months," Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, told "The challenge consists precisely in explaining how one can claim to be a Catholic while denying what the Catholic Church has
identified as a central, unchangeable teaching."

Many pro-life Catholics say Kerry’s embrace of abortion will cost him votes in November.

"A lot of Catholic right-to-life people, even if they like Kerry on other issues, would vote for Bush on that issue," Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney, a Catholic who grew up in a Democratic household, told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Though Kerry took communion in Idaho on a recent vacation, one Catholic bishop said the candidate would be denied it if he visited churches in his diocese.

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said he would offer the politician a blessing rather than giving him full communion.

"I would have to admonish him not to present himself for Communion," said Burke. "I might give him a blessing or something. If his archbishop has told him he should not present himself for Communion, he shouldn’t. I agree with Archbishop O’Malley."

Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston, where Kerry attends church, has told Catholic elected officials who are pro-abortion that they should not be receiving communion and that they should refrain from taking part in the Christian sacrament on their own.

Kerry was roundly criticized by the families of pregnant women who have been victims of violence and lost their unborn children as a result. He voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Bill and for a substitute that says their children were not victims.

"I’m appalled that Senator Kerry voted the wrong way," Carol Lyons of Kentucky, whose pregnant daughter, Ashley, and unborn grandson Landon were murdered in January, told the Washington Times. "He’s running for president of the United States, and he doesn’t believe there are two victims. … I know my grandbaby was real … I have two victims."

"Before politicians say that Conner was not really a victim of a crime, they need to think long and hard about whether they really want to say that," Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, said referring to Laci’s son Conner, who also died.