In his most
recent column, Weigel opines that many of the Catholic democrats who
signed the February 28th statement resemble a group of politicians who,
in 1964 voiced their agreement with Catholic bishops concerning civil
rights, but then turned around and voted against the Civil Rights Act,
as soon as it reached the floor of the House of Representatives.
Some 80% of
Catholics who signed that statement supporting the position of the U.S.
Bishops--who were for the 1964 Act--then voted it down and supported
Weigel said that
“these were politicians trying to have it both ways,” and that, they
“took neither the teaching of the Church nor the logic of justice
“I think”, he
then went on to say, “that's what ought to be said about the latest
attempt to finesse the abortion issue, which came in the form of a
statement signed by 55 House Democrats,” all of whom, were Catholics.
He cited the
February statement, sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), in which
signatories pledge to "promoting alternatives to abortion, such as
adoption, and improving access to children's health care and child
care, as well as policies that encourage paternal and maternal
The rub, he
quickly pointed out, is that thirty-three of statement’s 55, including
Rep. DeLauro, “voted to support the legality of partial-birth abortion.
Forty-one of the signatories (again including Rep. DeLauro) voted to
make abortion legal in Defense Department clinics and hospitals abroad.
Thirty-seven of the signatories (including --- you guessed it --- Rep.
DeLauro) voted against efforts to constrain the courts from compelling
hospitals and doctors to perform abortions.”
“How do any of these votes square with the signatories' statement that
they ‘agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and
the undesirability of abortion --- we do not celebrate its practice‘?”
“This”, he chided, “is the same old same old --- ‘I'm personally opposed, but…’ --- tarted up in new vesture.”
speak credibly about the ‘undesirability of abortion’”, he further
pointed out, “and then vote to protect and expand the abortion license.
One cannot credibly claim to believe what the Catholic Church believes
‘about the value of human life’ and then ignore the central question
posed by Roe v. Wade: is the willful taking of innocent human life
compatible with a free and virtuous society?”
He said that
“One cannot appeal to the ‘primacy of conscience’ to defend the
unconscionable --- any more than one could make that appeal in denying
full legal and political rights to Americans of African descent.”
of the most volatile questions in the U.S. Church today, he said that
“It's the bishops' prerogative responsibility to decide what is to be
done, within the Church's discipline, about Catholic legislators whose
votes support the willful taking of innocent human lives.”
“That's a matter internal to the Church's life,” he wrote, “to be addressed by the Church's pastoral authorities.”
light of the recently released, and much debated “Statement of
Principles”, signed by a number of U.S. Catholic democratic party
leaders, Catholic analyst and papal biographer George Weigel is
charging that although many of the politician’s words oppose abortion,
their actions don‘t back it up.