I am always concerned when public figures who claim to be Catholic make a point of denying Church teaching, or even worse, misrepresenting it for political gain. This is particularly true when the question involves the identity of the preborn child and his inherent right to life.
Such has been the case during these past few days with Colorado's governor, Democrat and "Catholic" Bill Ritter. On the capitol steps, he spoke at a pro-abortion media event during which he asserted,
"I believe the amendment goes too far. . . My understanding is that there are things about calling a fertilized egg a person that do not square with church doctrine."
Not only is his statement a blatant misrepresentation of Church teaching, but it flies in the face of his self-identification as a "pro-life Catholic." One has to wonder where the hierarchy's statements of correction were and whether or not the media even bothered to speak with Archbishop Charles Chaput about this obvious deception on the part of the governor and his abortion cronies.
In an earlier report on this event, the Denver Post made it clear that this latest revelation from the governor does put him at odds with Catholic teaching:
"He's in a dicey spot with Amendment 48," said Tom Hooyman, a professor of medical ethics at Regis University who holds a Ph.D. in moral theology. "It's clearly a pro-life amendment. For him to come out and oppose it, you have to say, 'What does it mean to be a pro-life Catholic?' "
Just as Professor Hooyman questions the real definition of a "pro-life Catholic," so too should each of us. In fact, every practicing Catholic in Colorado should be asking this question. But . . .
There's a whole lot more to this latest debacle than meets the eye, however. For as Ritter was being madly applauded by his pro-abortion fans, pro-life protesters were out in force, making their presence known, holding up signs and wearing T-shirts declaring "Pro-choice is a lie." In fact, one of the protesters, John Wiechel, got a little loud in his responses to the governor's deceptions, and after repeated attempts to get the man to move from the property, police had to arrest him. He was later released.
Many of us believe strongly that this demonstrator's First Amendment rights were violated, but you can watch the entire video of this event and make up your own mind.
Wiechel's passion came out during some of Ritter's most egregious statements – statements that were most offensive to the defense of the innocent. "Bad policy, bad medicine and bad law" is how Ritter described Amendment 48 during his speech, and he made it clear that he was opposing it because he supports abortion. There is no other way to interpret what Ritter said. Some of us believe that statements like the one I have quoted are designed to defame the preborn, excuse their murders and make it politically correct to support abortion. In fact, in Ritter's case, it would appear that he is also attempting, in Pelosi and Biden fashion, to rewrite Catholic doctrine to serve his own personal interests, including support for the killing of the innocent.
And when you stop and think about it, and read the words of Amendment 48, it is hard to see where anyone could get the idea that the language was a threat to anyone, born or preborn. For those who cannot recall or have not seen it, Amendment 48 simply asks,
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution defining the term "person" to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as "person" is used in those provisions of the Colorado constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law?
The proposed amendment simply states a fact, though, scientifically, it is not as tight as we would have wanted liked. The Federal Personhood Amendment is accurate, whereas the Colorado language is a bit deficient. Be that as it may, it is certainly a sound policy; it is certainly not a threat to anyone's medical condition, and it most certainly should be embraced in law from one end of this nation to the other. No human being should be discriminated against because of his place of residence, and that includes the womb and the test tube!
Amendment 48 embodies a statement that we are confident our Founding Fathers believed was unnecessary, because I am positive that not a single one of them could have dreamed that anyone would ever deem it a legal right to murder a preborn child. For Catholics, this statement holds a special meaning, because it reflects the natural law and the teachings of the Church. At least that is the case in theory.
Apparently, Ritter is not among those Catholics who understand Church teaching. It would seem he prefers doctoring it up a little to soothe his culture-of-death mentality. So, we have a simple request to make of you. If you are reading this commentary and would like to let Ritter know what you think, and let Archbishop Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James Conley know how sincerely grateful you are that they have explained the truth to their flock, you may contact them using the information below.
In a statement issued yesterday, Archbishop Chaput said,
Governor Bill Ritter seriously confused the Amendment 48 debate on October 7 by saying – according to news reports – that, "My understanding is that there are things about calling a fertilized egg a person that do not square with Church doctrine."
This is false. Catholic teaching holds that human life is sacred from the moment of fertilization, commonly called "conception," to the moment of death. Separating a "fertilized egg" from the dignity of human personhood is bad theology and bad public policy. And Catholic public officials should know better."
Governor Bill Ritter: http://www.colorado.gov/apps/oit/governor/citizen/assistanceUtility/welcome.jsf
Archbishop Charles Chaput:
Auxiliary Bishop James Conley: