Catholic Bishop Gives ‘Pro-Life’ Movement a Tongue Lashing

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.

Oh, snap!

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.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago


Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

John H.
John H.5 years ago

Phillipa, you pointed out what I consider the biggest indictment against modern American Christianity. Without doubt some Christians sincerely try to live Christ like nonjudgmental lives but I have to say most of the people I have encountered in my 63 years on this earth are among the most hateful self-righteous bastards on around.

Marilyn Traver
Marilyn Traver5 years ago

Thank you for the information.

Bill K.
Bill K5 years ago

So, HE'S the one!!

Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore5 years ago


Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush5 years ago

'Wonders never cease.'

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W5 years ago

it's sad that churches have become synonymous with conservatism, rather than charity and help for all. An awful lot of charities are church-run but people often tend to forget that aspect, and assume that a good Christian is conservative rather than charitable and caring. And I can certainly see why people would get this impression.

David Monroe
David Monroe5 years ago

Calling the haters out as not pro-life but anti-abortion hits the nail on the proverbial head. If they cared about "Life" they'd also be against needless wars, putting military weapons into civilians hands, against hardened criminals, terrorists and the mentally unstable getting guns, so they'd be for background checks before a civilian can buy a gun from any source.
I do believe they'd also be pro-education, pro food assistance, pro health care for all...

Catherine H.
Cate R5 years ago

Janet T they do offer health care, education, and a centre for single mothers in my city that provides both practical, emotional and legal assistance. They do not provide birth control drugs or provide abortions in their hospitals but that is to be expected. You should have got your countries shit sorted by now and have universal health care and a decent pharmaceuticals benefit scheme coupled with a proper, correct and factual education system that actually educates young men and women of their options as well as the consequences of unprotected sex. Stop blaming various religions for your inaction. No woman should be looking at abortion after twenty weeks gestation except for the most dire of reasons either as a foetus as you all like to name it is a human in formation and is often viable at twenty three weeks gestation! Get your public health system sorted and stop blaming the Catholic Chuch, Judaism, Budhism and Islam for your lack thereof.