Catholic Cardinal Blasts California Politician Over Assisted Suicide Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 3, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Cardinal Blasts California Politician Over Assisted Suicide Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 3
, 2007

Sacramento, CA ( — A leading Catholic official took the rare step of singling out a politician for criticism. During a Mass on Monday, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who heads the nation’s largest diocese in Los Angeles, criticized Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez for his support of a bill that would make California the second state to legalize assisted suicide.

The endorsement of the bill from Nunez, a Los Angeles Democrat, helped it get out of a state Assembly committee last week.

During the sermon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Mahoney urged parishioners to speak up against assisted suicide and talked about Nunez’s support for the bill.

"We should be troubled that Fabian Nunez — who has worshipped here in this cathedral, is a Catholic — somehow has not understood and grasped the culture of life but has allowed himself to get swept into this other direction, the culture of death," the cardinal said, according to an AP report.

Nunez spokesman Steve Maviglio told AP that he respects Cardinal Mahoney’s opinion but explained that "this is another issue of individual choice where the overwhelming majority of Catholics have a different perspective than the official position of the church."

"Personal liberty and dignity are important values to Californians, regardless of their religious beliefs," he said.

Meanwhile, a representative of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared to reaffirm his position that he might veto the bill, if it gets to his desk, because he believes the issue of assisted suicide should be decided by state voters.

"The governor has not seen the legislation. However, his position has always been that this is a very significant issue that should be decided directly by the voters," Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear told AP.

In other examples of Catholic leaders singling out politicians, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said during the 2004 presidential elections that he would deny communion to pro-abortion Democratic nominee John Kerry.

In 2002, a Catholic priest in California prohibited then-California Gov. Gray Davis from paying Santa Claus at a Christmas party at a Catholic home for children because of his pro-abortion views.