New Pro-Life Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Bishop Serious About Opposing Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 22, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Pro-Life Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Bishop Serious About Opposing Abortion

by Maria Vitale
June 22, 2010 Note: Maria Vitale is an opinion columnist for She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.

From the very start of his news conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, it was clear where the diocese’s 10th bishop will stand on the right to life.

In his opening statement, Bishop-Designate Joseph P. McFadden said he wanted to “thank God first and foremost for the gift of life itself.”

Later, McFadden was asked if he, like his predecessor Bishop Kevin Rhoades, would make proclaiming the sanctity of human life a top issue as bishop of Harrisburg.

He answered that he would make it a priority to proclaim respect for all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. He added that to snuff out life at its very beginning is an absolute crime.

McFadden has been serving as auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, a post he has held since 2004. During that time, he gained the respect of the pro-life community through his tireless advocacy of the right to life.

In fact, McFadden celebrated Mass at the 2005 Pennsylvania Pro-Life Conference, which was held in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

In his new position as bishop of Harrisburg, McFadden will also be an influential voice in the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which is the public affairs arm of the Commonwealth’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic dioceses of the state.

A bishop can do a great deal to set the tone for a diocese, in addition to setting policy. Bishop-Designate McFadden’s vocal embrace of the right to life for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens signals an encouraging trend in Harrisburg.

The man who preceded McFadden in the bishop’s chair, Bishop Rhoades, amassed an impressive record of pro-life achievement during his tenure. He was known for leading hundreds of the faithful in prayer outside abortion facilities. He was also the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s Celebrate Life Banquet in Harrisburg.

It would seem difficult for a bishop to duplicate Bishop Rhoades’ pro-life record. But Bishop-Designate McFadden seems like the man to do it.

As he stated during his news conference, he is a “big believer that people are good.” The unborn are people too, and Bishop-Designate McFadden will be spotlighting their plight—and urging all people of good will to do everything possible to give pre-born children the respect they deserve. Pro-lifers of all faiths in Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania have reason to rejoice.


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