"Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."
-- From "Catholic bishops plan to forcefully confront Obama" by Manya Brachear, Chicago Tribune staff reporter 11/11/08
In a direct challenge to President-elect Barack Obama, America's Roman Catholic bishops vowed on Tuesday [November 11th] to accept no compromise for the sake of national unity until there is legal protection for the unborn.
About 300 bishops, gathered in Baltimore for their national meeting, adopted a formal blessing for a child in the womb and advised Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, president of the conference, as he began drafting a statement from the bishops to the incoming Obama administration. That document will call on the administration and Catholics who supported Obama to work to outlaw abortion.
"This is not a matter of political compromise or a matter of finding some way of common ground," said Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio. "It's a matter of absolutes."
Several bishops said that Catholics could not in good conscience vote for a candidate who favored abortion rights after Obama pledged to pass legislation that would overturn state's restrictions on abortion such as late-term abortion bans and requirements of parental consent.
Bishops Thomas Paprocki of Chicago said such legislation could threaten laws that allow health-care workers to refrain from carrying out procedures that violate their conscience, putting Catholic health care institutions in jeopardy.
George agreed that losing federal funds would put Catholic health care facilities, which make up a third of the nation's hospitals, out of business. Closing Catholic hospitals would put many patients seeking charitable care from those facilities at risk, he added.
In crafting the statement to Obama, the bishops urged the cardinal to indicate a desire to work with the administration in areas of economic justice, immigration reform, health care for the poor and religious freedom. But they stressed the church's "intent on opposing evil" and "defense of the unborn child."
Read the full statement: Cardinal George Voices Hope for Obama Administration, Points to Possible Obstacles to Our Desired Unity