USCCB Staff Reverses Bishops’ Decision On Abortion Issue, by Christopher Manion

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Offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Fourth Street NE in Washington, DC.

By Christopher Manion, The Wanderer, February 15, 2020

At the USCCB’s annual meeting last November, America’s bishops considered updating their document entitled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens. The text, published every four years, represents a classic in the genre of boring, meandering memos prepared by large and cumbersome committees. Nonetheless the November debate on the document exposed serious fissures in the ranks of the USCCB.

The debate centered on the content of a letter introducing this year’s version of the document. On one side, Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego sought to remove the depiction of abortion as a “preeminent issue.” Their proposal was criticized by Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, who insisted that the term remain in the document, and Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., who cited the views of Pope Francis in endorsing the term’s prominence in the text.

Ultimately, bishops voted 143-69 in favor of keeping the original text. It reads as follows:

“The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed. At the same time, we cannot dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty.”  ….

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