by Steven Ertelt
February 22, 2006
Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) — Pope Benedict XVI has elevated two strongly pro-life American bishops to the position of cardinal within the Catholic Church. Bishop Sean O’Malley of Boston and Bishop William Levada, who was in a top Vatican position regarding Catholic doctrine, were two of 15 new cardinals the pope named on Wednesday.
O’Malley became the archbishop in Boston after the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.
During the presidential elections, O’Malley 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.
He said "a Catholic politician who holds a public, pro-choice position should not be receiving Communion."
Because of his position, the Democratic Party, which held its 2004 convention in Boston, broke with tradition and refused to invite the local bishop, in this case O’Malley, to attend and deliver the invocation.
Bishop O’Malley also canceled plans to attend the annual Christmas dinner for Catholic Charities last year because the group honored pro-abortion Boston Mayor Thomas Meninio.
”In light of the Mayor’s past statements concerning abortion … the Archbishop regrets that he cannot attend the dinner," his office said in a statement.
”In doing this he acts in accord with the US Catholic Bishops policy regarding public officials who are in conflict with Catholic teaching on specific issues, a policy formulated at plenary session of the Bishops’ conference in June of 2004," it said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Levada served on a task force for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the issue of pro-abortion elected officials and communion. The task forced urged Catholic churches and institutions not to honor or give a platform to such elected officials.
Levada, while he was a bishop in the Portland diocese, strongly condemned those Catholic politicians who take a "personally opposed" position on abortion.
"This allows, it would seem, a compromise between the clearest sort of moral principle enshrined in the centuries-long teaching of the Catholic Church about abortion and the fashion of contemporary … political ‘philosophy,’" he explained.
"But millions of Catholics … recognize that certain principles do not allow of such easy compromise, and that the teaching of their Church about the evil of abortion requires not only their social action to provide women with alternatives to abortion, but also their political action in favor of the dignity and sanctity of life," he said.
"The individual politician, like any Catholic, who is at odds with the teaching of the Church about the principle involved, i.e., that abortion constitutes the killing of innocent human life and is always gravely immoral has an obligation to reflect more deeply on the issue," he explained.
"It should be clear, then, that every Catholic is required to accept this teaching as a matter of faith, and that any Catholic who would deny it would separate himself from the unity of Catholic faith and practice," he concluded.