American Catholic bishops showed Nov. 12 that the current pontificate has divided them on fighting abortion as a social justice priority, voting 143-69 to keep the issue “pre-eminent.”
Tuesday morning during the Fall General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the bishops debated, and voted upon, a letter based on the USCCB’s document on political life, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens.”
At issue was the letter’s insistence that the slaughter of the unborn remains the pre-eminent social justice priority for the USCCB. Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego objected, saying, “It is not Catholic teaching that abortion is the pre-eminent issue that we face as the world in Catholic social teaching. It is not.”
McElroy also said he believes that saying the threat of abortion remains the USCCB’s “pre-eminent priority” is “at least discordant with the pope’s teaching if not inconsistent” and that it is a “grave disservice to our people if we’re trying to communicate to them what the Magisterium teaches.”
The bishop of San Diego was contradicted by Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia. Strickland stated that the word “pre-eminent” must remain in the letter, and Chaput underscored that abortion is indeed the most important social issue of our time.
“I am against anyone stating that our saying it’s ‘pre-eminent’ is contrary to the teaching of a pope because that isn’t true,” Chaput said.
“It sets up an artificial battle between the Bishops’ Conference of the United States and the Holy Father which isn’t true,” he continued.
“So I don’t like the argument Bishop McElroy uses. It isn’t true, you know. We support the Holy Father completely. What he says is true. But I think it has been the very clearly articulated opinion of the bishops’ conference for many years that pro-life is still the pre-eminent issue. It doesn’t mean the others aren’t equal in dignity.”
The bishops applauded Archbishop Chaput’s intervention.
The debate began when Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago asked (see video here at 49:25) for an amendment to the short letter that would include the entire paragraph 101 from Pope Francis’s controversial 2018 apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate.
“[Francis] speaks about the need to make sure we avoid those kind of ideological frameworks that our society today is so paralyzed in our political discourse by, but also he wants to make sure as we see here that not only do we avoid that, but we engage one another,” Cupich said.
“He also makes sure we do not make one issue that a political party or group puts forward to the point where we’re going to ignore all the rest of them. And then he also names some that we don’t name in our document,” he continued.
Cupich was particularly interested in including the final line of the paragraph: “We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.”
The archbishop of Chicago cited the recent speech by the nuncio to the USA regarding the “Magisterium of Pope Francis.”
“From my perspective it is making sure that we are, as we heard from the nuncio, looking at the particular Magisterium of Pope Francis for us in this very important document,” he said.
Archbishop José Gomez said that the drafting committee did not include the full passage from Gaudete et Exsultate because it asked for a brief document.
McElroy said he supported Cupich’s amendment for his reasons but also for another:
“What has been added to this letter that was not in the previous forms is a statement, I believe, that is at least discordant with the pope’s teaching if not inconsistent. The top of the second page of the letter, it says, ‘The threat of abortion remains our pre-eminent priority because it directly attacks life itself.’ This is taken from the previous statement, but I believe it is not in keeping with that quote from the Holy Father. And this ‘pre-eminent’ quote will be used to in fact undermine the point Pope Francis is making in that paragraph. So either we should get rid of ‘pre-eminent,’ or if we are going to keep ‘pre-eminent’ in there, let’s at least give the pope a fighting chance with his view to keep that whole paragraph in there because that’s where he articulates his vision of this very controversial question. This is the most important focal point of this letter… and it totally changes the nature of the letter because it will allow people to use it to say, ‘This does overcome all the other issues.’ It is not Catholic teaching that abortion is the pre-eminent issue that we face as the world in Catholic social teaching. It is not.”
The bishops were asked to vote to approve the text as presented by Gomez. Of the bishops, 143 voted yes, and 69 voted no. Four bishops abstained….
The above comes from a Nov. 12 story on LifeSiteNews.
So, Cardinal Cupich is leading the charge, backed by Bishop McElroy, to weaken the bishops statement of the truth. God bless and protect bishops like Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Strickland! What issue does Bishop McElroy think more important than the slaughter of millions of innocent babies, that violence against their mothers (and fathers and others) and the devaluing of human life from its very beginning?! That’s not a rhetorical question. Why won’t he answer? I’m not a “single-issue” voter, but a candidate who tries to protect babies will, and should, get my vote rather than one who promotes baby-killing, yet has solar panels on his or her roof.
We have a right to hear the honest positions of obfuscating bishops like Cupich, McElroy, Tobin and Gregory.
These bishops are mouthpieces for pope Francis, the same pope Francis who gutted the St. Pope John Paul II Institute. It’s “discernment” on his part that “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.” ( “Document on Human Fraternity”, signed by Pope Francis and Ahmad Al-Tayyeb). To be “different” is a time-bomb which exploded at the Amazon fiasco and will keep on exploding as the “Francis Magesterium” wills it. Hard to be staunchly pro-life in the traditional sense and easy to sound the horn of Bishop McElroy under this new ” Magesterial” learning.
…Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection,..
Gaudete et Exsultate paragraph 101
When deception arises citing man made interpretations of “Catholic social teaching” which have found their way into the magisterium, follow instead of the Holy Bible and Jesus, fs who will lead you through the confusion to the Truth.
wow apriest puts Rerum Novarum in scare quotes. How far our Church has fallen
Saving the lives of innocent children needs to be pre-eminent because if we don’t have life we don’t have anything. If we give in and let abortion be just a side note, we are living so much more open to the question of killing others because they are inconvenient. The other argument that Rev. Blaze makes is contrary to being pro-life. If he was only open to listening to Vise Presidents Pence speech to the March for Life in 2018 he would better understand the pro-life stance. He sets up a straw man argument. It’s not either or, it’s all for one and one for all. How would you feel if you were a child in the womb? I am sure the Virgin Mary knew and her cousin Elizabeth knew that their babies were of preeminent concern. Right now in the United States it’s of utmost importance that we make this clear to our society, that taking the life of innocent children is of preeminent concern. God help us.
Thank the Good Lord for placing AB Gomez as the President of the group!
I love it when he said…….that if you don’t have LIFE nothing else matters!!!
Spot on :)
“It is not Catholic teaching that abortion is the pre-eminent issue that we face as the world in Catholic social teaching. It is not.” I will respectfully, yet profoundly and vehemently with all my might disagree with this statement. What, Bishop McElroy, is the pre-eminent moral crisis today? The environment? The threat of war? Unemployment? Poverty? Atheism? What trumps the well-thought out, systematic, government supported, medically supervised and assembly line murder of innocent unborn lives? Much in the same way fighting the progroms of Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers against Jews, Chinese, and Eastern Europeans were the pre-eminent moral issue of the early 20th C, abortion it is indeed the primary and most critical moral issue of the last fifty years becuase not because it directly attacks human life (war, poverty and drug cartels do the same), but because it serves as the barometer and base-line for all other moral issues that attack human life. In other words, if one cannot get abortion right, one’s entire moral foundation and framework is flawed and becomes a house of cards. At the risk of calling out an ordinary in the State of California, I am compelled to say it: You are dead wrong about this, Bishop McElroy.
I am saddened for the end of my Church
Obviously San Diego and Chicago have never read “Evangelium Vitae” sad….
Prior to the 2008 election, to which Obama was elected — with a sizable Catholic vote, i might add — a pro-life group in Northern California came under attack and was ostracized because of their opposition to the to the Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens. The “Chancery” accused this group of being “too political” for opposing the seamless garment argument, thereby giving Catholics permission to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.
I find it appalling that 69 bishops do not see abortion as a pre-eminent teaching of the Catholic Church.
Thank you Frs. Richard andJohn for your strong statements of opposition to bishop McElroy et al who believe otherwise.
If the Democrat Party opposed abortion, then the same bishops who think opposing abortion isn’t that important would consider it the most important thing ever. The bishops are Democrat Party loyalists, not Catholics. Understand that and you understand everything they do and say.
Christ’s dear little children cry out, in their mother’s wombs, for great champions of our Church, to save them from possible torture and death! This sickening “ONE-THIRD” of our USCCB, led by Cupich and McElroy, ought to be KICKED-OUT!! It takes mature MANHOOD to fight the evils of the world, for Christ! Before the Council, our Pope and his clerics were a strong rock of Christian Morality, for all the world to listen to– and obey! There was no such thing, as a small group of pro-life Catholic laymen and their kids, trying to lead the Catholic Church and the world, on Christian Morality! SHAME ON OUR COWARDLY POST-CONCILIAR CHURCH!!
So melodramatic. And so wrong. All that the Holy Father is saying is that the Church ought not to be allied with any one particular party or political ideology. In this case, the Republican Party. Folks, the Church is BIGGER than American politics. The Church is not the Republican Party in prayer. And so to use the cause of abortion to align the American Church soley with one political party/ideology is flat WRONG!
jon– are you aware that our current Pope is no champion of pro-life for unborn babies in their mother’s wombs? Pope Francis and his “liberal” bishops, such as Bp.McElroy and Cdl. Cupich, have severely undermined all the good work of Pope St. John Paul II’s ‘Evangelium Vitae!” They all seem afraid of “fighting the good fight,” for Christ, like St. Paul– to combat ignorance and sin in the world, and promote Christ’s teachings! One of the first things Pope St. John Paul It said, in his Papacy, was “Be not afraid!”
To courageously fight sin and ignorance, to stand up for Christ, even to suffer and die for Him– is exactly what we all are called to do, in the Church! It has nothing at all to do with secular politics, in the secular world– except, to teach Christ’s teachings to them all! Because of his Christian Faith, Pres. Abraham Lincoln bravely stood up against dividing our country, in the Civil War, over the evil of slavery– and was assassinated, as a result!
Pres. Lincoln read his Bible daily, and attended church services regularly. Lincoln’s martyrdom for ending slavery, is a good example of bringing Christ’s teachings into the secular world, so that —
in this case– politicians can put Christ’s teachings into action, to help end terrible evils, and bring the world closer to God.
If you don’t think that this crowd of bishops isn’t in lockstep with Democrats you have been dreaming for a couple of decades
“Bohemond’s” point is false. Firstly the last time I checked the entire Church which includes the American Church opposes abortion, the “pre-eminent” issue for progressive Democrats, and the extreme left. The Church which includes the American Church opposes euthanasia, gay marriage, open borders and socialism (the Church believes in private ownership): all of which are tenets of the Democrats. So it is “bohemond” who is dreaming.
Jon… when was the last time any of these so called princes of the Church excommunicated a catholic politician for supporting abortion….when, ??? they won’t because they don’t want the federal to stop from rolling in….
“bohemond” has the same problem as Barbarie over there. Both claim to have an insight into the heart of these bishops; yet only God can accurately read the heart and the intent in a person.
A couple of points: 1) the paragraph that reads, “(Francis) speaks about the need to make sure we avoid those kinds of ideological frameworks that our society today is so paralyzed in our political discourse by, but also he wants to make sure as we see here today that not only do we avoid that, but we engage one another,” shows that whatever qualities the man (Cardinal Cupich) has, mastery of the English language is not one of them, and, 2) Bishop McElroy’s fear of elevating the abortion issue to a place of “preeminent priority” is not a fear he shares with his leftist brethren. Those with whom he wallows in the liberal pigsty are clearly anxious to elevate abortion to a place of preeminence, and their anxiety is revealed each time a Suprme Court seat becomes vacant and we witness the hand-wringing and the cries of fear that the precious sacrament called abortion must be untouched and that stare decisis must be respected. You can do anything but lay off of my Roe v. Wade, goes the refrain — and everyone who knows anything knows that to be true,.
The argument advanced by “jon” would seem to require that church teaching be abandoned simply because the Republican party happens to be in accord with it. Hey, look, if the Republicans get something right, give them credit. And if the Democrats are wrong — which they clearly are on abortion — give them um, uh, nah, don’t want to send them there; wait, I’ve got it: give them your prayers that they might mend their ways or go down to much-deserved defeat. (And by the way, the church has historically been so cozy with the Democrats that jon’s point is absurd on its face.)
Sorry, but Thomas Joseph Barbarie’s point is wrong. First, who said anything about the Church abandoning her teachings about abortion? No one! Least of all the Holy Father. Francis’ position is clearly stated in Gaudete et Exsultate: “Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.” If you are so passionate about abortion, you should be equally passionate about the rest of the human race! And that is neither in the Republic nor in the Democratic platforms!
Apparently, “jon” is unaware of the “seamless garment” thesis put forth by the late Cardinal Bernardin and his allies, which continues to deform Catholic consciences. This candidate,the argument holds, may support the destruction of intra-uterine life, but he or she is strongly in favor of expanding the food stamp program, therefore it’s fine to vote for him or her. That was clearly meant to keep Catholics in the Democrat fold and deny the Republicans the votes of those who are pro-life, but sufficiently weak minded that they will fall for an argument which goes thus: people are entitled to love and care, but only if they survive the abortion industry’s rapacity. That minfset continues to this day to provide cover for people such as Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy and too many other self-professed Catholics to list. The subsequent rights to which people are entitled mean nothing to those who have been denied the pre-eminent right to life.
Thomas Joseph Barbarie again gets it wrong. He obviously has not read “Faithful Citizenship,” particularly paragraph 35! Barbarie’s entire argument falls flat on its face by this gross assertion: “This candidate,the argument holds, may support the destruction of intra-uterine life, but he or she is strongly in favor of expanding the food stamp program, therefore it’s fine to vote for him or her.” No where does “Faithful Citizenship” allow such a scenario. It’s amazing how people conjure up a false version of the Church’s position, then start to thrash it. It’s called a canard.
Anyone who is incapable of seeing that the effort by Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy etc., was meant to weaken trational Catholic opposition to abortion and thereby create the impression that one can with clean conscience vote Democratic is incapable of being broguht into profitable conversation.
I think the more accurate assertion is that anyone who has a ready bias against the anointed shepherds of the Church–ascribing mal-intent, even moral degeneracy, in their efforts–is incapable of being brought into profitable conversation. Why? Only God can see the heart of a person (in this case the heart of these prelates). And here is Barbarie purporting to know the intent of these prelates. It’s tough, folks, to reason with anyone who takes upon himself the role of God. Beware.
“And his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth” came to my mind when I first read the title of this article.
McCelroy and Cupich fully exemplify the reason why so many Catholics have left the faith! As a former seminarian, college educated father, grandfather and great grandfather of 78 yrs old personally stand on the edge of leaving the Catholic Church and relating to God my Creator and my Savior. I truly do not like Pope Francis or these Left Wing hypocrites posing as “Holier than thou” under the umbrella of my lifetime Church!