Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin slammed pro-choice Catholic politicians “scurrying around to protect abortion” after the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy would be stepping down.
“The sight of so many politicians scurrying around to protect abortion is truly sad,” the bishop tweeted Thursday. “Self-professed Catholic pols who do so should be ashamed of themselves.”
As a doctrinal aside, Tobin added: “Note well: Support of abortion is contrary to God’s will, a betrayal of the faith, and a cause of scandal.”
Though he named no names, it is not difficult to understand to which Catholic politicians the bishop was referring.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a self-described “ardent, practicing Catholic,” who is also ardently pro-abortion, was not shy in expressing her feelings regarding the new Supreme Court vacancy, breathlessly insisting that the “future of our democracy is at stake.”
“With the resignation of Justice Kennedy, President Trump and Senate Republicans now threaten to destroy a generation of progress for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, workers’ rights and health care,” Pelosi declared in a statement.
“As Leader [Mitch] McConnell insisted the last time a Supreme Court seat became vacant in an election year, ‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.’ Now, the American people will see whether Senate Republicans will heed their own rule, or rashly proceed to confirm a nominee who could radically alter the course of American justice for decades,” she said.
Ms. Pelosi, who selectively cites Pope Francis when it suits her stances, has taken a hardline stand in direct opposition to Church teaching on two of the biggest social justice issues of our day — abortion and gay marriage.
In 2015, Ms. Pelosi said that she knew “more about having babies than the pope,” and that a woman has “the right” to an abortion, no matter what Catholic teaching might say.
In her acceptance speech for Planned Parenthood’s highest honor — the Margaret Sanger Award — Pelosi went still further, calling pro-lifers (like the pope) “dumb,” “closed-minded,” and “oblivious.”
At the time, Pelosi’s comments drew a stern response from her own archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who stated that “no Catholic can dissent in good conscience” from Church teaching on the sanctity of life.
This year, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, said that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a self-proclaimed Catholic, is “cooperating in evil” and persisting in “manifest grave sin” because of his abortion advocacy and must, therefore, “not be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of his sin.”
The bishop’s statement followed on a procedural vote on a bill that would have outlawed abortion after 20 weeks into pregnancy, a bill that Durbin supported.
The statement was cited by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who said it was “appalling” that the Senate had failed to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act in its Jan. 29 vote, thanks in part to a number of pro-choice Catholics.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome.