Texas Bishops Face Protests from Pro-Abortion Catholics

Deal W. Hudson
October 27, 2008

When is the last time a bishop’s statement on abortion resulted in several days of protest from pro-abortion Catholics? The joint statement issued last Friday by Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas has done just that. No doubt the forceful clarity of the bishops’ message elicited the outcry.

The protests began on Sunday when the statement was read from the pulpit by Rev. Tony Ruiz, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Dallas. Some two-dozen parishioners walked out and went to the local media to lodge their complaints about “political endorsements.”

The next day, the Dallas Morning News carried the story on the front page of its Metro section. “The silver lining was that the article contained a link to the bishops’ statement,” said Karen Garnett, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Dallas.

Garnett told me that the subsequent protest on Wednesday afternoon in front of the diocesan chancery attracted the same number of people who had walked out of the Mass at Holy Trinity. Bishop Farrell, who was out of town on Wednesday, has offered to meet with the protesters.

“Too many parishes do seminars on ‘Faithful Citizenship’ that don’t put the life issues first. We’ve been dealing with that problem for 35 years,” added Garnett.

Olivia Franklin, a member of Holy Trinity for 15 years, heard Father Ruiz read the statement. “I’m thrilled that he read it, and I hurried out the door to tell him to thank you. This is the truth, and we need to hear the truth.”

Franklin had recently attended four seminars at Holy Trinity on “Faithful Citizenship.” At these sessions she was told, “one could in fact vote for a pro-abortion candidate if one was not voting for them for that reason.” She raised objections to what was being taught, only to be told it was just her opinion.

There have been over 40 statements to date issued by bishops this election season. Some responded to comments made by Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, about the beginning of human life. Others responded to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appearance on Meet the Press when she, too, misrepresented the Church’s teaching on abortion.

But the biggest problem of this election for Catholics has been the bishops’ own document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” In an otherwise admirable document, there is one section (Sec. 34-37) that has provided an open door for pro-abortion Catholics to drive through and proclaim their support for Obama, a proponent of abortion-on-demand. (I have already written about the effort to use “Faithful Citizenship” to help Obama.)

One of the problematic passages in “Faithful Citizenship” presently being spun by Obama’s Catholic supporters is the following:

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.

Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

Bishops Vann and Farrell demolish the arguments of leading Obama Catholic surrogate Doug Kmiec and others, that “Faithful Citizenship” can be interpreted to support Obama in the present election.

Bishops Vann and Farrell explain that voting for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil like abortion is possible only if 1) “both candidates running for office support abortion or ‘abortion rights,'” or if 2) “another intrinsic evil outweighs the evil of abortion.”

Obama’s Catholic apologists argue such a situation exists with Sen. John McCain, citing his support for the Iraq War. Bishops Vann and Farrell reject this line of reasoning in advance, saying “there are no ‘truly grave moral’ or ‘proportionate’ reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year.”

Olivia Franklin believes God is using the bishops’ statement and the controversy at Holy Trinity. “For too long authentic Catholic social teaching has been co-opted by the ‘social justice’ crowd, who rail about the death penalty while conveniently ignoring the real death penalty presently being carried out – the 4,000 babies executed daily by abortionists.”

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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