Bob Casey Yanks Catholic College Speech After Bishops’ Abortion Criticism

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bob Casey Yanks Catholic College Speech After Bishops’ Abortion Criticism

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 26
, 2009

Harrisburg, PA ( — Senator Bob Casey has withdrawn his plans to give the commencement address at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Casey gave no reason for withdrawing, but his decision follows a public reprimand by Catholic Bishop Joseph Martino for a recent pro-abortion vote he cast.

Martino, of the Diocese of Scranton, took Casey to task in February for voting to fund groups that promote and perform abortions overseas.

Casey is supposedly one of two pro-life Democrats in the Senate, but his vote against an amendment to restore the Mexico City Policy that President Barack Obama ditched betrayed any pro-life principles.

St. Vincent College announced in December that Casey was slated to be the May 9 commencement speaker for the Catholic institution. St. Vincent president H. James Towey said the senator did not say why he will no longer attend.

Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic educational watchdog group, informed of Casey’s decision.

“Given the strong comments from Bishop Martino and the high profile controversy over Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama, it is probably a blessing to St. Vincent College that Senator Casey is not available to speak,” he said.

He praised Bishop Martino for being "very vocal in recent months holding Casey accountable for his public actions in relation to Catholic beliefs."

After Casey voted against the pro-life amendment, Martino accused him of “cooperating with … evil."

In the letter, published in the Catholic Light, the diocesan newspaper, he urged Casey to live up to his Catholic faith by voting to “oppose abortion."
Bishop Martino said Casey vote against the Mexico City Policy “will mean the deaths of thousands of unborn children" and reminded him that “this is an offense against life and a denial of our Catholic teaching on the dignity of every human being.”

Martino said Casey should reverse his vote because his “responsibilities as a Catholic … exceed even those of your office.”

“Your failure to reverse this vote will regrettably mean that you persist formally in cooperating with the evil brought about by this hideous and unnecessary policy,” he wrote. “As I have done several times before, I offer to make myself available to you to discuss the grave concerns that I raise here.”

At the time, Larry Smar, Casey’s spokesman, responded to the comments with the claim that the amendment did not regard direct funding for abortion and that Casey supports a current law prohibiting direct abortion funding abroad.

“Sen. Casey fully supports the Helms amendment, and its enforcement, and will continue to do so,” Smar said, according to the Citizens Voice newspaper.

The Mexico City Policy does not concern direct abortion funding but it does prevent taxpayer money from going to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International that would otherwise have to use their own funds to promote family planning efforts.

The money also funds abortion promotion efforts, whereby the two abortion businesses actively lobby nations with pro-life laws to legalize some or all abortions.

The annual controversy over commencement speakers at Catholic colleges and universities has gained national prominence due to Notre Dame University’s decision to honor President Barack Obama at its May commencement despite his pro-abortion record.

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –

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