The anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe Vs Wade is today.
One of the most visited posts I’ve written was one on Catholic Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse. In November, the Bishop wrote letters to Catholic lawmakers warning them that he might not allow them to take communion if they supported abortion rights. Now it has been reveled he signed a decree ordering priests under his jurisdiction to follow through with that threat. His actions have drawn criticism from other Catholic leaders.
Dan Maguire, a professor of theology at the Jesuit Marquette University in Milwaukee, called Burke a "fanatic" who has embarrassed the Catholic Church by using bullying tactics.
"He is not a theologian and he is making terrible mistakes that have been addressed in theology in the past," Maguire said. "He's making a fool of himself. And the politicians are absolutely within their Catholic rights to ignore him."
In December, Bishop Burke ordered Catholic groups not to participate in a fund raiser for AIDS’s related programs because he felt some of those programs “promote homosexuality among young people.”
The Pope has since promoted Bishop Burke and he will take the reigns in St. Louis as the new ArchBishop on January 26.
As a Christian, I understand the differences of opinion people hold over abortion. I am pro-choice. I fully support the inclusion of gays and lesbians in religious life. But I can respect that others of deep faith can stake positions other than mine. I would never refuse them communion.
Bishop Burke does all Christians a disservice by his actions.
Since it is the anniversary of Roe vs Wade I'm posting the United Church of Christ statement on abortion as a resource and to remind people not all Christians share Bishop Burke's views:
But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me." —Luke 8:46
God has given us life, and life is sacred and good. God has also given us the responsibility to make decisions which reflect a reverence for life in circumstances when conflicting realities are present. Jesus affirmed women as full partners in the faith, capable of making decisions that affect their lives.
If the full range of options available to women concerning reproductive health are compromised, then women’s moral agency and ability to make decisions consistent with their faith are compromised. Furthermore, poor women should have equal access to full reproductive health services, including abortion and information on family planning.
The United Church of Christ has affirmed and re-affirmed since 1971 that access to safe and legal abortion is consistent with a woman’s right to follow the dictates of her own faith and beliefs in determining when and if she should have children, and has supported comprehensive sexuality education as one measure to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. (General Synods VIII, IX, XI, XII, XIII, XVI, XVII, and XVIII)