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Dukakis lauds deceased Cardinal Cushing for accepting legal contraceptives

CWN - March 16, 2012

Former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, who was the Democratic party’s presidential candidate in 1988, tells the New York Times that Cardinal Richard Cushing, then the Archbishop of Boston, engaged in a “great act of statesmanship” when he told legislators in 1965 that he did not oppose a bill legalizing the sale of contraceptives.

“I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do,” Cardinal Cushing said. That argument became the template for claims by Catholic politicians that they were “personally opposed” to abortion but could not impose their morality on others.

The quotation from Dukakis appears in a New York Times analysis based on the inaccurate assumption that the current dispute between the American Catholic hierarchy and the Obama administration involves the question of whether or not contraception should be available. In fact, the key question at issue is whether the White House has the authority to force Catholic institutions to subsidize contraceptives—or, as Cardinal Cushing might have put it, whether the Obama administration should impose its thinking on those who do not think as it does.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 17, 2012 9:19 AM ET USA

    "In fact, the key question at issue is ... whether the Obama administration should impose its thinking on those who do not think as it does." Exactly!

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Mar. 17, 2012 7:53 AM ET USA

    I thought we were to speak the Truth and to 'admonish sinners' - not keep our religious beliefs to ourselves. Jesus' words always seem so clear about not hurting children. It seems like we have a clear duty to oppose abortion and contraception - both of which harm children. I often wish our priests and Bishops would simply use the powerful words of God (what could be better?) to instruct us as to what exactly Jesus said and to inform us regularly of our duty as followers of Christ.

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