This story came from an unreliable source- The New York Times, yet it is likely true.
NEWARK, May 21 – Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said on Friday that he was “deeply disappointed” that his recent criticism of Roman Catholic elected officials who supported abortion rights had been interpreted by some New Jerseyans as a political slap at Gov. James E. McGreevey.
In an interview, Archbishop Myers said Mr. McGreevey was not the target of statements he had made in a pastoral letter saying that Catholic officeholders who did not share the Vatican’s opposition to abortion should not seek communion. He said he had apologized to the governor for any misperception by the public.
“I didn’t name him specifically in the letter,” Archbishop Myers said. “We have an understanding that I won’t personally criticize him. And we are working together on a lot of issues, like providing social services for the poor and helping people with H.I.V. So I think we reached an understanding. I actually like him, and I think we have a cordial relationship.”
Previously Archbishops Myers had said in his pastoral letter “A Time for Honesty.“
“…Catholics who publicly dissent from the Church’s teaching on the right to life of all unborn children should recognize that they have freely chosen by their own actions to separate themselves from what the Church believes and teaches. They have also separated themselves in a significant way from the Catholic community.
“The Church cannot force such people to change their position; but she can and does ask them honestly to admit in the public forum that they are not in full union with the Church.
“One who practices such dissent, even in the mistaken belief that it is permissible, may remain a Catholic in some sense, but has abandoned the full Catholic faith. For such a person to express ‘communion’ with Christ and His Church by the reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is objectively dishonest.”
But with abortion (and for example slavery, racism, euthanasia and trafficking in human persons) there can be no legitimate diversity of opinion. The direct killing of the innocent is always a grave injustice. One should not permit unjust killing any more than one should permit slave-holding, racist actions, or other grave injustices. From the perspective of justice, to say “I am personally opposed to abortion but�” is like saying “I personally am against slavery, but I can not impose my personal beliefs on my neighbor.” Obviously, recognizing the grave injustice of slavery requires one to ensure that no one suffers such degradation. Similarly recognizing that abortion is unjust killing requires one-in love and justice-to work to overcome the injustice.
His pastoral letter was obviously not set as a specific attack at the Governor, but against all who hold views contrary to the faith. But even if he didn’t name the Governor specifically in the letter it certainly described people such as Gov. McGreevey who have advocated for legalized abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. I would hope that the Archbishop is not saying that his letter applied to people who hold views like the Governors, but just not Governor himself. But to then go on to say that he has a understanding with the governor just contradicts the teaching office of a Bishop. It sounds like a deal with the devil. I’ll ignore your pro-abortion advocacy if only we can work on providing social services for the poor. One of the social services abortion advocates want is to provide free abortions to the poor. And then to add that he personally likes the Governor is just adding something that doesn’t matter to the argument. We can like many people that we might vehemently disagree with on many issues, but we should never turn liking a person as equivalent to accepting the culture of death they advocate. We are called to love our neighbor, but we can’t fully love them if we don’t want them to turn away from sin. Did not Jesus love those very people he called “A brood of vipers?” Did he not say this because in fact he did love them?
This episcopal flip-flop if accurate will just affirm those who hold positions contrary to the Church’s view on the dignity of life.
I start to wonder just how much a baby in the womb weighs. They must be made of extremely light material because it seems almost anything can outweigh it. Concern for and helping the poor tips the scale. Careers tips the scale. Inconvenience tips the scale. Controlling your body or life tips the scale. Political consideration tip the scale. Not wanting to appear political tips the scale. Being uncomfortable tips the scale.