Archbishop of Portland rebukes Catholic Oregon governor for hosting NARAL fundraiser

Archbishop John Vlazny / Gov. Ted Kulongoski
Archbishop John Vlazny / Gov. Ted Kulongoski


The Archbishop of Portland, Oregon John G. Vlazny is lamenting the fact that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has become “a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community” by hosting of a “political gala” for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon this coming Friday.

Labeling the Catholic governor’s appearance a seeming “deliberate dissent” from the teachings of the Church, Archbishop Vlazny is calling upon Catholics to contact the governor and extending them an invitation to an upcoming Respect Life Mass.

In a Tuesday statement from the Archdiocese of Portland, the archbishop rebuked the governor, who with his wife is scheduled to be an “honorary host” for the fundraising dinner at a Portland hotel.

Archbishop Vlazny wrote:

“It has come to my attention that Governor Ted Kulongoski will be hosting a NARAL Pro-Choice political gala two days before our Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

“This is a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community. For a Catholic governor to host an event of this sort seems a deliberate dissent from the teachings of the Church.

“As I wrote in the Catholic Sentinel in August ‘the very core of all Catholic moral and social teaching is respect for the dignity of everyone. Ours is a rich heritage of social teaching which forms the basis of what it means to be a faithful citizen as a Catholic.’”

Saying the “grave evil of abortion continues to be promoted as a legitimate moral choice by Governor Kulongoski and NARAL,” Archbishop Vlazny invited Catholics to attend evening Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, the day of the NARAL gala.

He also invited Catholics to attend the Respect Life Mass at the cathedral on Sunday.

Gov. Kulongoski spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor characterized the governor as a longtime supporter of a woman's right to choose an abortion.

"The archbishop is the governor's pastor, and he has only respect and admiration for the archbishop," Taylor said. "They obviously disagree on the issue of choice.”

Archbishop Vlazny’s statement concluded with a call for Catholics to contact the governor.

“I call upon our Catholic people to express their displeasure to the governor and to remind him of the demands of personal integrity as a member of our faith community in the exercise of his office and public activities,” he wrote, adding the governor’s phone number for public comments.