Catholics & Politics

Sacramento Bishop William Weigand recently admonished Gray Davis, the Democratic governor of California, for his outspoken prochoice position. During a January 22 Mass marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, Weigand took the exceptional step of directing remarks to the governor. "I have to say clearly that anyone-politician or otherwise-who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the church," Weigand said. "Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart."

Davis was unrepentant and unmoved. His spokesman, Russ Lopez, said "The governor is a faithful, practicing Catholic who attends Mass in West Hollywood. We don’t like abortion, but we do like choice on the issue. I’m wondering why the bishop is making a concerted effort to exclude and push away those Catholics who favor women having choice." If this is the best Davis can do in explaining his problematic stance on abortion, then he should be reproved more often by his fellow Catholics.

Before making his criticism public, Weigand said he had tried to meet privately with Davis. According to the bishop, Davis rebuffed his overtures. Some prolife Catholic activists have urged the bishop formally to...

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