Colorado Senator Says Abortion Debate With Catholic Church "Private"

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Senator Says Abortion Debate With Catholic Church "Private" Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 22, 2004

Denver, CO ( — Newly elected pro-abortion Colorado senator Ken Salazar says the debate between the state’s leading Catholic official and a Catholic attorneys group that gave him an award is a private matter.

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput are at odds over a 2003 award Salazar received from the group. Chaput has said the award was inappropriate because Salazar refuses to take a stand opposing abortion.

Salazar spokesman Cody Wertz said the new senator is "very proud of the award he received."

Wertz said Salazar believes the dispute is a private matter between the church and the lawyers group.

The Guild’s board of directors voted in November to not give Archbishop Chaput veto power over award recipients. The group decided to allow Chaput’s input, but voted to make the final decision itself.

That decision and the award given to Salazar is upsetting many members of the group.

Jeremy Cohen told the Rocky Mountain News that "a group that uses the word Catholic in its name and mission statement should be consistent with the teachings of the church, which are pretty clear."

Cohen said he and others are discussing the possibility of creating a new group that is more focused on Catholic values and teachings.

Meanwhile, attorney Rebecca Messall says she supports Chaput’s input. She told the News that she did not attend the Guild’s annual Mass last year because the award was planned for Salazar.

Now, the Denver diocese is distancing itself from the organization.

The archdiocese has decided to withdraw Auxiliary Bishop Jose Gomez from saying Mass at the group’s annual dinner next month.

It told the lawyers association that it could not use any facilities at the archdiocese to hold its event. The group had been using the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization prior to the decision.

Sergio Gutierrez, a spokesman for the Denver diocesan office, said the decision to disaffiliate with the group was appropriate.

At their meeting in June, the nation’s Catholic bishops approved a document calling on Catholic institutions to make sure they do not allow their facilities to be used to promote abortion or abortion advocates.

"It’s reasonable to expect a Catholic organization to be consistent with Catholic teaching," Gutierrez said.

Related web sites:
Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado –

Archdiocese of Denver –