Catholic Bishops Name O’Malley Chair of Pro-Life Committee

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 14, 2011   |   4:54PM   |   Baltimore, MD

The nation’s Catholic bishops have elected Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, as the new chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities.

As the new leader of the panel within the nation’s conference of Catholic bishops, O’Malley will be charged with the task of heading up all pro-life educational and legislative efforts they undertake — including pushing for legislation to end and limit taxpayer funding of abortions, ensuring that Obamacare does not fund abortions, and promoting the conscience rights of pro-life and Catholic groups and medical workers to not have to be involved in doing, referring for or paying for abortions.

O’Malley, as the Boston archbishop, has been actively pro-life and, most recently, called on Massachusetts residents to oppose a petition drive there seeking to get a measure on the state ballot to legalize assisted suicide.

“Physician assisted suicide has been resisted in many states, but this new Hemlock Society sees Massachusetts as low hanging fruit. We must show them that that fruit is a prickly pear,” said Cardinal O’Malley, referring to the organization behind the initiative.

In 2009, O’Malley, who drew fire from pro-life Catholics for attending the funeral of the late pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy,  had the opportunity to confront pro-abortion President Barack Obama at the event.

“I had the opportunity to speak briefly with President Obama, to welcome him to the Basilica and to share with him that the bishops of the Catholic Church are anxious to support a plan for universal health care,” he wrote then. O’Malley said he warned Obama that “we not support a plan that will include a provision for abortion or could open the way to abortions in the future.”

“The President was gracious in the short time we spoke, he listened intently to what I was saying,” the bishop wrote.

Pope Benedict XVI elevated O’Malley to his position in February 2006 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.”

Responding to today’s vote, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, congratulated O’Malley on his election to the pro-life post.

“The Priests for Life association, as the Church’s largest ministry focused exclusively on ending abortion and euthanasia, works in conjunction with local bishops and their episcopal conferences around the world,” he said. “For the last twenty years, we have appreciated the collaborative relationship we have had with the US Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, and we look forward to increasing that collaboration under the leadership of Cardinal O’Malley. There is no issue or challenge facing the Church that carries greater urgency and consequence for the human family than abortion. We thank the bishops for their leadership in making that clear.”

Cardinal O’Malley, who assumes leadership of the post next year, will take over from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.