by Colin Kerr
BUFFALO, New York, February 21, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Practicing Catholics who claim they are nurturing their children in the faith must teach their children that abortion is intrinsically evil, that human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”
These were Bishop Richard Malone’s words in light of a Catholic state senator’s defection from a pro-life position.
Bishop Richard Malone
In what is being hailed by pro-life leaders as an instance of strong clarity and directness, the bishop of Buffalo has publicly criticized Time Kennedy, the Democrat representative of New York’s 63rd District, for what the politician has referred to as his “evolving” position on abortion.
Kennedy had previously described himself as pro-life, but not “extremist,” however, he announced Sunday that he will vote for the “10th point” of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act that would expand abortion in state.
In an official statement, Bishop Malone described Senator Kennedy’s “turnaround” as deeply disappointing.
The bishop did not mince words: “For anyone to say that he or she is a faithful Catholic and to be pro-abortion/pro-choice rights is totally inconsistent with Catholic teaching.”
The senator also said, “I take my Catholic faith very seriously. I am a practicing Catholic. I am nurturing my children in the Catholic faith,” according to Buffalo News.
Bishop Malone described this as totally inconsistent for a Catholic, as he referred the protection of pre-born human life as a “most critical issue.”
Malone has been bishop of Buffalo since 2012, but has been serving in the episcopacy since 2000, both as an auxiliary in Boston and later as Bishop of Portland, Maine.
Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, who spoke on behalf of Malone because he is away, told LifeSiteNews, “The bishop and Senator Kennedy have had several private confidential conversations prior to this point. … Clearly Bishop Malone is now deeply disappointed with Senator Kennedy’s statement.”
When asked whether the bishop anticipated any negative fall-out as a consequence of his outspokenness, Gallagher said, “The bishop is simply educating … trying to educate the faithful and non-Catholics as well that this is what we teach, this is what the Church teaches. … We don’t anticipate any negative consequences from that.”
Gallagher indicated that Kennedy’s change of mind was first apparent in the summer of 2013 when an amendment hostile to the governor’s proposed legislation was introduced to the Senate and Sen. Kennedy failed to vote for it. “He really switched [his position] back in June,” she said.
She described his recent statement as “the final nail in the coffin. … Now he is saying that he would affirmatively vote for an expansion bill should it come before the senate this year. Last time he just failed to vote against a measure to keep it off the floor. … That clearly showed us where he stood. … So we knew we had lost him, even though in 2010 he ran as a pro-life Democrat.”
Gallagher describes Bishop Malone as “deeply committed to the pro-life position,” and, thus, that Bishop Malone was rightly gravely disappointed by this change.