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US cardinals, in separate statements, welcome Dobbs decision

June 27, 2022

In separate statements, the cardinals who lead American dioceses welcomed the Dobbs v. Jackson decision (CWN coverage), which overturned the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade.

“We welcome this important ruling and the opportunity it creates for a national conversation on protecting human life in the womb and promoting human dignity at all stages of life,” said Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. “This moment should serve as a turning point in our dialogue about the place an unborn child holds in our nation, about our responsibility to listen to women and support them through pregnancies and after the birth of their children, and about the need to refocus our national priorities to support families, particularly those in need.”

“Make no mistake, because this ruling regrettably will have little impact on abortion in Illinois, as there are virtually no restrictions here, we will continue to advocate strongly for legal protections for unborn children,” he added.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston praised the decision as “a welcome and positive step toward creating a life-affirming society. It is a necessary step.”

“Abortion is too often viewed as a positive good and a practice necessary to ensure women’s liberty,” he continued. “Although this perspective is deeply flawed, it is a widespread belief which will take time and patience to overcome ... I urge Catholics to act prudently and to avoid situations that may lead to public confrontation. We are called to speak the truth wisely, avoiding conduct that could unnecessarily inflame tensions.”

In a statement entitled “We Give Thanks to God,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, joined by the other bishops of New York State, said that “this just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born.”

“On this historic day, our gratitude extends to the millions of heroic Americans who have worked tirelessly toward this outcome for nearly a half-century,” they added. “As Catholics, we have prayed and fasted, held vigils, offered Masses, and peacefully witnessed in these last five decades. We have joined others in educating schoolchildren, opening pregnancy care centers, walking with mothers, offering post-abortion counseling, and marching, year after year, to the United States Supreme Court to witness for life. Today, our voice has been heard.”

“Nearly 50 years ago when Roe v. Wade was handed down, our nation became a house divided against itself by putting freedom of choice before even the inalienable right of life itself,” said Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington. “Since then, we have tirelessly prayed and worked for a restoration of the values stated in the Declaration of Independence that have made ours a truly great nation.”

“We rejoice in this latest step in our journey, but our work is not done,” he continued. “Locally and nationally, we still have more to do to advance the dignity of human life and to make sure that the full range of life issues are adequately addressed. This includes supporting pregnant women in making life-affirming choices, providing better availability of prenatal and postnatal care for children and their mothers, advocating for affordable child care and safe schools, and advancing policies that support mothers in school and in the workforce.”

Cardinal Gregory added that

we must also recognize that a life-affirming ethic should also draw attention to a host of other areas that should be of great concern to humanity. This includes revoking the death penalty and caring for the imprisoned; addressing all forms of injustice, including racism; caring for the poor, the sick, elderly, and vulnerable; and advancing a greater recognition of our calling in the entire spectrum of human relationships to be brothers and sisters to one another.

“For all of us who have spoken, written, worked, marched, and prayed to reverse Roe v. Wade, today’s Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is deeply significant and encouraging,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston. “This decision will create the possibility of protecting human life from conception; it calls us to recognize the unique burden faced by women in pregnancy; and it challenges us as a nation to work together to build up more communities of support—and available access to them—for all women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.”

Cardinal O’Malley continued:

I welcome the Court’s decision, but I do not underestimate how profoundly divisive the issue of abortion has been and will continue to be in our public life. Even more tragic has been the personal suffering of women facing unplanned pregnancies in difficult situations. The Church has consistently opposed the moral and legal dimensions of Roe v. Wade; we also adamantly reject stigmatizing, criminalizing, judging or shaming women who have had abortions or are considering them. Too often isolated and desperate, women have felt they had no other choice. They need and deserve spiritual, emotional, and material support from the Church and from society.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark said that with the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court “recognizes that even the most helpless and dependent human beings have a right to life and possess inherent dignity and worth.”

“The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death,” Cardinal Tobin continued. “We must oppose the many threats to human life and dignity evident in contemporary society, including abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and capital punishment.”

The prelate added:

Abortion represents a failure to recognize the sanctity of human life and promotes a culture in which human life in its most vulnerable moment is perceived as disposable. It is telling that in the public debate, the unborn child frequently disappears from the moral calculus. Furthermore, abortion is not healthcare. It is a disastrous attempt to create a false equivalency between the taking of innocent human life and the “reproductive health” of women in our society. It results in inhuman and lethal consequences...

We agree with the analysis of Pope Francis, who has made it clear that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter.


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  • Posted by: grateful1 - Jun. 28, 2022 7:11 PM ET USA

    My sentiments exactly, filioque and Lucius49 -- thank you!

  • Posted by: filioque - Jun. 27, 2022 7:08 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Gregory, your words ring hollow when you refuse to deal with two of the greatest abortion proponents in the country calling themselves good Catholics and still free to receive Holy Communion in your archdiocese. Have you no love for them at all? Have you no concern for the scandal they give?

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jun. 27, 2022 3:35 PM ET USA

    Disappointing remarks from Cardinals O'Malley and Gregory. Who's stigmatizing women who have had abortions Cardinal O'Malley? All the other things Cardinal Gregory mentions presume lives already in being and abortion is about taking innocent life at its source. Cardinal Gregory's attempts to relativize the issue of abortion by giving the impression that all the other issues he mentions have the same moral weight as abortion. They don't.