In an act that has puzzled Catholic Church officials, the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters donated $200 to an organization that raises money to support Democratic female candidates, who advocate the right to abortion.
The donation to Emily’s List in August 2003 was made to promote the election of more women into office, Sr. Mary Katherine Hamilton, IHM vice president, told the Detroit Free Press.
Sr. Hamilton said the donation was not a political statement on abortion. Rather, the sisters found that many of the candidates, endorsed by Emily’s List, shared the sisters’ positions on human rights, the environment, the economy, children and education.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters are very active is social justice work. The 600-member community run an AIDS hospice in South Africa and even bought Detroit Edison stock to have access to stockholders meetings and protest against the Fermi nuclear plant.
Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman Ned McGrath told the Free Press that archdiocesan officials are puzzled about the sisters’ donation.
"Supporting legitimate causes for the advancement of women is one thing," McGrath was quoted as saying. "Support for Emily's List, with its defining litmus test for abortion rights, is quite something else."
Paul Long, executive director of the Michigan Catholic Conference, denounced the donation to Emily's List. He told the Free Press that there are other ways to advance women in politics, without "contributing to an organization that solely promotes the destruction of human life."