Catholic Democrats in Congress Release Abortion Statement, Pro-Lifers Upset

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 1, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Democrats in Congress Release Abortion Statement, Pro-Lifers Upset Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 1, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A group of Catholic Democrats in Congress have released a "Statement of Principles" claming to respect the sanctity of human life even though most of them support abortion.

The move appears to be an attempt to respond to the nation’s Catholic bishops, who have called on churches and colleges not to give a platform to pro-abortion politicians.

The 55 signatories say they "acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas."

They declare they are "proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition — a tradition that promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life."

However, as pro-abrotion lawmakers typically say, the members of Congress signing the document discuss the separation of church and state and appear to oppose laws banning or limiting abortions because of it.

"As legislators, we are charged with preserving the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all Americans," they explained. "In doing so, we guarantee our right to live our own lives as Catholics, but also foster an America with a rich diversity of faiths."

About abortion, the lawmakers claim to "not celebrate its practice" and talk about it being "undesirable."

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said the legislators had “made a big mistake” and introduced “a bundle of contradictions” into the public debate.

“This statement tries to soften the contradiction between creating a just society and tolerating legal abortion," he contended.

"The voting records of these legislators are available to anyone who wants to look them up. To fail to protect the unborn, and then to say that you are ‘committed to . . . protecting the most vulnerable among us’ is a blatant contradiction," Pavone explained.

The lawmakers also claimed to support programs to reduce the incidence of abortion and essentially say that abortion is one of many equally important issues to the Catholic Church such as the death penalty, ending poverty and stopping wars.

That’s despite Catholic teachings saying the exact opposite.

Pavone explained that Pope John Paul II’s document Christifideles Laici says, "Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination."

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, joined Pavone in responding to the document.

“The House Democrat so-called ‘Statement of Principles’ is nothing more than Washington-speak for: ‘We support abortion on demand and we do not care what the Church teaches," he said.

Euteneuer said the statement "made it clear that they have chosen loyalty to their party’s platform supporting abortion on demand over their church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and the dignity of the unborn child."