Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic World News News Feature

Catholic Democrats assert "primacy of conscience" over Church teaching March 01, 2006

A group of Catholic members of the US House of Representatives has issued a "Statement of Principles" in which they claim a "commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching," but refuse to accept the Church's opposition to legal abortion.

The "Statement of Principles" was released on February 28, and signed by 55 of the 72 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives. The group professes its commitment to carrying out Catholic social teaching in many ways: "reducing the rising rates of poverty; increasing access to education for all; pressing for increased access to health care; and taking seriously the decision to go to war."

The Democratic group goes on to acknowledge "the undesirability of abortion-- we do not celebrate its practice." But the statement says that although they recognize the Church's teaching authority the lawmakers "believe also in the primacy of conscience." Acknowledging the "tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas," the legislators leave it clear (if not explicitly stated) that they will not attempt to end legal abortion.

The "Statement of Principle" does not mention other controversial issues on which Democratic lawmakers have often clashed with Church teachings, such as euthanasia, embryonic research, and government recognition of same-sex unions.

The statement was issued from the office of Connecticut's Rep. Rosa DeLauro. The others signing the statement were:

  1. Joe Baca
  2. Xavier Becerra
  3. Robert Brady
  4. Michael Capuano
  5. Dennis A. Cardoza
  6. Wm. Lacy Clay
  7. Jim Costa
  8. Joseph Crowley
  9. Peter A. DeFazio
  10. William Delahunt
  11. Rosa DeLauro
  12. Mike Doyle
  13. Anna Eshoo
  14. Lane Evans
  15. Charles A. Gonzalez
  16. Raul M. Grijalva
  17. Luis V. Gutierrez
  18. Maurice Hinchey
  19. Tim Holden
  20. Patrick J. Kennedy
  21. Dale E. Kildee
  22. James R. Langevin
  23. John B. Larson
  24. Stephen Lynch
  25. Edward J. Markey
  26. Jim Marshall
  27. Carolyn McCarthy
  28. Betty McCollum
  29. James P. McGovern
  30. Cynthia McKinney
  31. Marty Meehan
  32. Michael H. Michaud
  33. George Miller
  34. James P. Moran
  35. Grace Napolitano
  36. Richard E. Neal
  37. James L. Oberstar
  38. David R. Obey
  39. Frank Pallone
  40. Bill Pascrell
  41. Ed Pastor
  42. Nancy Pelosi
  43. Silvestre Reyes
  44. Lucille Roybal-Allard
  45. Tim Ryan
  46. John T. Salazar
  47. Linda T. Sanchez
  48. Loretta Sanchez
  49. Jose Serrano
  50. Hilda L. Solis
  51. Bart Stupak
  52. Gene Taylor
  53. Mike Thompson
  54. Nydia Velazquez
  55. Diane Watson