Pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic may be hearing from their bishops soon. The U.S. bishops are considering developing a new statement that condemns politicians from both parties, who claim to be Catholic and pro-abortion.
They are also considering whether to impose sanctions against Catholic pro-abortion politicians, such as being denied honorary degrees and refusing to allow them to speak at Catholic institutions. The bishops announced this new initiative at their semi-annual meeting in Washington, following a campaign by the American Life League, urging them to take action on this issue.
Bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., is chairman of a bishop’s committee that will develop such guidelines, intended to persuade politicians and to advise bishops on disciplinary measures that could range from prohibiting disobedient politicians from speaking at Catholic events to excommunication.
Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the USCCB, commented on the controversial committee. "Does the code [of canon law] permit us to impose sanctions - and if it does, is it pastorally wise to do so?" he asked. "Because no bishop wants to count anyone out, ever. At the same time, we're challenged by people who feel the situation is scandalous - and rightly so - to do something."