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04 / 12 / 2009 - New USCCB Pro-Life Head Defends Bishops` Role against Health Bill
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the newly-appointed Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life Committee, has defended the Church's role in advocating for the unborn in the health care bill in his first interview since ascending to the chairmanship last month.
"If you call it lobbying, we're lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others," said Cardinal DiNardo in an interview with the Houston Chronicle last week
DiNardo assumed the chairmanship on November 19 from Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who fronted the bishops' critical rejection of the House health care bill over its expansion of abortion.
After House Speaker Pelosi unexpectedly allowed a vote to include Hyde-amendment protections in the House bill, the U.S. bishops have endured a hail of criticism from pro-abortion forces accusing them of overstepping their bounds. Several conservative lawmakers had awaited the bishops' stamp of approval on the legislation before accepting it as adequately pro-life.
The cardinal has already issued a letter to lawmakers urging similar pro-life and conscience protections for the bill in the Senate, where debate began on the measure yesterday.
DiNardo told the newspaper that Catholic leaders are morally obligated to oppose laws that contravene the Church's basic moral teachings. "Whatever the polls say, that would not determine going into the public square on those issues," he said. "For us, the role of the human person, it's a religious and a moral and ethical principle."
Cardinal Rigali at the National Press Club on Nov. 20 emphasized the USCCB's support for universal health care, but only through a system that excludes funding for abortion. "Everyone is called upon to do everything possible to see that when we are trying to get laudable health care - and that's what we hope to get - laudable health care, but certainly abortion will be excluded from that," he said.
Other bishops have expressed similar lines of thought: Orlando, FL Bishop Thomas G. Wenski in a Nov. 20 column for the Orlando Sentinel said that Catholic bishops have supported health care for years, but "insist that health-care-reform legislation under consideration does not become a vehicle for government-required payments for abortion or abortion mandates."
Source: Kathleen Gilbert - LifeSiteNews.com