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Bishop challenges Davis on abortion
Posted: January 23, 2003
12:15 p.m. Eastern

 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

Sacramento Bishop William K. Weigand, leader of 500,000 Catholics in Northern California, challenged Gov. Gray Davis yesterday to prove he's not a hypocrite on the issue of abortion.

The Sacramento Bee reports Weigand called on the governor to either renounce his support of abortion rights or stop taking Holy Communion, one of the most sacred rites in the Catholic faith.

Weigand threw down the gauntlet before congregants assembled for morning Mass on the 30th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that amounted to the legalization of abortion.

"As your bishop, 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."

The Bee reports the governor is an active Catholic who attends Mass in Southern California with his wife, Sharon. The Davises were originally married in a civil ceremony but got remarried in the Catholic Church for their 15th wedding anniversary. The ceremony allowed Davis to resume taking communion.

Weigand praised Monsignor Edward Kavanagh, during the Mass. Last month Kavanagh refused to allow Davis to deliver gifts to St. Patrick's Orphanage unless he renounced his abortion-rights views.

"I'm unapologetically pro-choice and I'm not changing my position," the governor responded, according to The Bee.

"Ever since the little incident last month, people have been asking questions," Weigand told congregants in reference to the Kavanagh showdown. "They asked "how can a Catholic be in good standing and still hold that point of view? I'm saying you can't be a Catholic in good standing and hold that point of view. The governor's position is very public and contrary. ... You can't have it both ways," he said.

The bishop was also taking a cue from the pope. Last week, the Vatican released a new set of guidelines approved by Pope John Paul II for Catholic politicians. The document said that church opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage was not up for negotiation. It urged lawmakers, when voting on legislation, to stay in line with the church's "nonnegotiable ethical principles."

The pope reaffirmed to Roman Catholic politicians that when they take positions opposing "the basic right to life from conception to natural death" they are outside the doctrine of faith.



  As WorldNetDaily reported, the doctrine lacks enforcement; politicians who take heretical positions aren't penalized and, more often, are supported by Catholic leaders.

Specifically, the Catholic vote is viewed to have helped incumbent Davis eek out a win over his Catholic, pro-life opponent Bill Simon in last year's election.

One pro-life group seeks to hold Catholic politicians' feet to the fire. As WorldNetDaily reported, as part of its Crusade to Defend Our Catholic Church, the American Life League launched a new campaign yesterday to put pressure on what it calls "The Deadly Dozen" 12 U.S. senators who are both Catholic and support legalized abortion. Among the 12 are Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and John Kerry, D-Mass., a Democratic candidate for president. In a statement, the organization said the dozen senators are "claiming to be faithful Catholics."

"For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has steadfastly defended the sanctity of all human life," said American Life League president Judie Brown. "The simple fact is you cannot actively support abortion and be a faithful Catholic. You can't have it both ways. The Church's teachings on this matter are very clear."

The Associated Press reports that Kerry has rejected the Vatican's new guidelines.

Governor Davis is reportedly not backing down either. Spokesman Russ Lopez deflected the challenge from the bishop and criticized Weigand for "telling the faithful how to practice their faith." He then predicted Weigand's comments would alienate California Catholics.

"There are a lot of Catholics who are pro-choice. Does the bishop want all Catholics to stop receiving Holy Communion?" he asked. "Who's going to be left in church?"

Lopez also told The Bee the governor was proud of the legislation he signed giving women the right to choose. Other legislation touted include measures that require HMOs to cover Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception and that crack down on violent protesters at abortion clinics.

Davis' office issued a press release yesterday boasting that California was "the most pro-choice state in America."

The governor also marked the anniversary by issuing a proclamation at a Planned Parenthood event in Los Angeles.

"During my entire career in public service, I've supported a woman's reproductive freedom. When it comes to a woman's right to choose, as long as I'm governor, California will not concede one inch," he declared.

(I want a CA Gov. recount! ~JenT)

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