Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Louisiana bishop Herzog gives qualified support for Komen Race for the Cure

by Jeremy Kryn

  • ALEXANDRIA, LA, September 27, 2011 ( - The bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana has stated his support for the controversial Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The statement by Bishop Ronald Herzog, published in the September 19, 2011 issue of “The Church Today,” contrasts with a July 20 statement from the Ohio Catholic Conference and statements from other US dioceses which oppose Catholic fundraising for Komen .

“In my opinion a person could, in good conscience, participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, confident that no part of that donation would be given to Planned Parenthood,” said Herzog.

Diocesan newspaper editor Jeannie Petrus said that the national office of Komen and the Northeast Central Louisiana affiliate of Komen currently do not provide grants to Planned Parenthood. She justified support for Komen, saying that the local affiliates that provided grants to Planned Parenthood restricted use of the funds “for the specific and sole purposes of breast exams, breast treatments, and breast cancer education.” She said that the grant money is used primarily in low-income areas “where women do not have access to these services.”

An Alexandria-based Catholic health-care facility, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, is a major sponsor of the Central Louisiana Susan G, Komen Race for the Cure.

This summer, Ohio’s bishops asked all parishes and schools to cease support of Komen, citing the breast cancer advocacy foundation’s support for Planned Parenthood, and the fact that their policies do not exclude embryonic stem cell research.

In addition to Alexandria and Ohio, other dioceses have taken a position on Komen.

The St. Louis diocese has discouraged support for Komen. In 2006, the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis said, “Due to its policy allowing affiliates to offer financial support to abortion providing facilities, its denial of studies showing abortion as a cause of breast cancer, and its endorsement of embryonic stem cell research, the Respect Life Apostolate neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.”

The Lafayette, Indiana diocese discouraged support for Komen in 2008. Both St. Louis and Lafayette encouraged Catholics to support local hospitals engaged in breast cancer research and treatment, rather than Komen.

Also, in 2008, the Little Rock Diocese issued an apology in March and retraction of their initial position in February discouraging Komen funding. The decision was made after Komen assured the Diocese that local fund-raising would not benefit Planned Parenthood. Following Little Rock’s policy reversal, however, both the St. Louis and Lafayette dioceses reaffirmed their opposition to Komen support.

Stop Planned Parenthood, a project of the American Life League dedicated to shutting down Planned Parenthood, released a report on August 24, 2011 detailing the $629,159 in funding various Komen affiliates contributed directly to Planned Parenthood affiliates across the US in 2009-2010, according to the 990 Forms Komen submitted to the IRS for those years.

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