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Cardinal Dolan decries ‘extreme ideology’ of conscience-protection opponents

January 15, 2016

In a statement for the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the new chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, took aim at the “extreme ideology” of President Barack Obama and “other Democratic leaders” in opposing conscience-protection measures.

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“Even as Americans remain troubled by abortion, a powerful and well-financed lobby increasingly insists that there is no real issue here – that abortion is just another part of ‘basic health care’ for women, to be seamlessly integrated into our health system and our lives,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Planned Parenthood and other abortion promoters say they will no longer call themselves ‘pro-choice,’ apparently realizing that this phrase might allow others to choose a path different from their own. They hold that abortion must be celebrated as a positive good for women and society, and those who cannot in conscience provide it are to be condemned for practicing substandard medicine and waging a ‘war on women.’”

Cardinal Dolan continued:

We see this in the rising opposition of some political leaders to the very notion of a right of conscience on abortion. A few years ago, for example, President Obama pledged to defend the conscience rights of those who do not accept abortion, and his Administration assured us that longstanding federal laws protecting these rights must be fully enforced. Yet in the final days of 2015, he and other Democratic leaders were unwilling to support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, a modest measure to provide for effective enforcement of these laws.

While this is disturbing, it is also an opportunity. The great majority of Americans are not committed to this extreme ideology. They do not see the unborn child as an illness or a tumor. They are repelled when they see the callousness of the abortion industry, as in the recent undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials calmly discussing the harvesting of body parts. They do not want to be pushed into actively promoting and paying for abortion. They do not want doctors and nurses who are sensitive to the value of life at its most vulnerable to be driven from the healing professions. They are open to hearing a message of reverence for life.

In taking up this challenge, we who present the pro-life message must always strive to be better messengers. A cause that teaches the inexpressibly great value of each and every human being cannot show disdain or disrespect for any fellow human being … And especially in this Year of Mercy, we recall with Pope Francis that each human life is created by a God whose love is infinite -- and that this same love is a source of unbounded mercy and forgiveness for all who have fallen short of God's plans for us.

Cardinal Dolan also invited Catholics to take part in the USCCB’s “9 Days for Life” novena from January 16 to 24.


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  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jan. 16, 2016 1:24 AM ET USA

    For a moment there, right at the end, I thought Cdl. Dolan might mention the need for repentance and a resolve to change, as a necessary condition for mercy. But no.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jan. 15, 2016 1:30 PM ET USA

    I am a nurse myself & I would strongly question, not only for my on sake but also for the sake of my colleagues, this Cardinal's sincerity. Words are cheap... and at the very least putting on "a performance" is "the least" that any Catholic prelate is required to do...