Catholic lawmakers who resent being targeted by bishops for their support of abortion rights have fired back, with one suggesting that prelates who wade too deeply into politics may risk their tax-exempt status.
Although a leading Vatican cardinal states that Catholic teaching is clear about denying communion to a politician who supports abortion rights, two key U.S. bishops say withholding the sacrament from a dissenting Catholic like Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is not a likely option.
In December advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that a “morning-after pill,” previously available only by prescription, be made available to U.S. consumers over the counter. The pill, marketed as “Preven” and “Plan B,” is not the same as RU-486, the “abortion pill” that terminates development of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
President Bush used a special presidential prerogative January 16 to get one of his most controversial judicial nominees installed, temporarily, on a federal appeals panel. Just days before Congress returned from its holiday recess to resume its legislative work, Bush used a “recess appointment” to get Charles Pickering installed as a judge on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The encounter that most decisively shaped my teaching occurred during my very first year in the classroom. I was fresh out of graduate study at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the lines of my life, as the psalmist says, had fallen in pleasant places.