“One doesn’t need to be Catholic to believe that abortion is an offense against human dignity and the taking of an innocent life,” they said. “We are not only opposed to abortion because the Church tells us to oppose it (as a matter of faith), but because it is morally repugnant and inconsistent with respect for human life.”
The Texas law prompted President Joe Biden (D) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to consider some sort of federal intervention that would keep abortion legal thorughout a pregnancy.
Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act when they return from recess. The bill would create a law allowing abortion throughout a pregnancy, and would forbid states from enacting their own pro-life restrictions on abortion.
Biden, in a statement published after the law was allowed to go into effect, directed his administration to examine “what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, warned that these actions by Catholic politicians could warrant excommunication.
In a Washington Post op-ed published Sept. 5, Archbishop Cordileone, who is Pelosi’s ordinary, noted that in the 1960s, prominent Catholic segregationists were excommunicated by then-Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans for refusing to embrace racial integration.
The three excommunications, he said, were an example of a legitimate Catholic response to “a great moral evil” of that time period, and were not “weaponizing the Eucharist.”
“Rummel recognized that prominent, high-profile public advocacy for racism was scandalous: It violated core Catholic teachings and basic principles of justice, and also led others to sin,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
The same, he said, is true of prominent Catholics who support abortion rights.
“You cannot be a good Catholic and support expanding a government-approved right to kill innocent human beings. The answer to crisis pregnancies is not violence but love, for both mother and child,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
“This is hardly inappropriate for a pastor to say,” he said. “If anything, Catholic political leaders’ response to the situation in Texas highlights the need for us to say it all the louder.”
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Archbishop Cordileone’s essay drew strong reactions from his brother bishops.
“Thank you for speaking up, Archbishop,” said Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler. “I am with you 100% as are many Catholics and others who know that life is sacred.”
His comments were echoed by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois, who said it was an “excellent op-ed.”
Bishop James Conley of Lincoln wrote, “It is impossible to deny the humanity of the unborn child. Catholic politicians must uphold the human rights of these tiny citizens,” and encouraged people to “take some time to read this excellent piece by Archbishop Cordileone.”