The Catholic Church never ceases to surprise me. Usually, it’s for bad reasons, like super entrenched homophobia and misogyny. However, every once in a while, I’m surprised by some epic truth-telling.
Earlier this month, Bishop Robert Lynch, of St. Petersburg, Florida, responded to criticism from the anti-choice organization Population Research Institute, who basically accused the Catholic Relief Services of Madagascar of not being anti-choice enough because they worked alongside family planning groups and allegedly handed out condoms. In rebuking the PRI, Bishop Lynch gave ostensibly “pro-life” groups a bit of a tongue lashing:
I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion. We heard nothing from the heavy hitters in the prolife movement in the last week when Florida last night executed a man on death row for 34 years having been diagnosed as a severe schizophrenic. Which personality did the state execute? Many priests grow weary of continual calls to action for legislative support for abortion and contraception related issues but nothing for immigration reform, food aid, and capital punishment.
Notice, however, that he’s not repudiating the policy. That would, admittedly, be too much to ask for. He does address one of the more perplexing characteristics of the anti-choice movement: that is, the lack of meaningful activism around issues dealing with the quality of life. It seems that anti-choicers will do what they have to do to make sure a baby is born, but cannot be counted on to help make that life livable. The absence of action on that issue is so glaringly obvious that even a Catholic bishop can see it.
It’s more rare to hear a Catholic bishop question the womb-obsession of the Church, but he’s not the only one. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an influential group of Catholic nuns, got in some hot water with the Vatican brass over what amounts to the group’s desire to focus on social justice issues and not abortion and homosexuality.
According to Raw Story, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops list ending abortion and euthanasia as the primary objective in promoting a “culture of life.” However, the Conference also includes in this prohibitions on firearms, death penalty abolition and strengthening of welfare programs.
Color me skeptical on how important the later considerations are. The USCCB’s vehement opposition to the Affordable Care Act makes me question their commitment to, you know, making life better for actual alive people.
All things considered, it’s good to hear even a mid-level Catholic official recognize that being “pro-life” requires more than just being pro-birth.
Pro-life advocates need to encompass more entities in their campaign, including animals. Sign this petition to encourage President Obama to continue to protect wolves.
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