Saturday, 25 May 2013

Take courage from this performance as fight on same-sex marriage rages on

Make no mistake: the fight over same-sex marriage is not over simply because one house of the British parliament has voted for a bill. It will rage on, into the House of Lords on 3 June, in our communities and all over the world, just as the abortion battle rages on decades after the passing of the Abortion Act in 1967 and after the Roe v. Wade judgment. Our voices must be heard and we must have the courage to make them heard.

In that regard, over recent months SPUC has received a wealth of messages (see a selection below) congratulating Anthony Ozimic's performance back in January on ITV's This Morning programme on the subject of same-sex marriage and schools  (see below or view it on SPUC's channel on YouTube). Not only did Anthony hold his own against what was a three-against-one cross-examination, but the gap in the viewing public's opinions narrowed during the debate from 80%-20% to 60%-40%. As Fr Timothy Finigan, leading Catholic blogger, commented:
"In such an arena, arguing alone against three opponents, this was a highly significant swing. At the end, even the presenters had to acknowledge this and managed to admit that the debate was "interesting.""
So we should take courage from this proof that we can convince other people of our cause and that we mustn't be intimidated. As the vote in the House of Lords looms on 3 June, please contact Katherine Hampton katherinehampton@spuc.org.uk in SPUC's political department to find out what you can do.



From clergy:

Fr Timothy Finigan, Catholic priest and leading Catholic blogger:
"Anthony Ozimic fights 3-1 pounding and wins on points: Calm, dispassionate and devastatingly effective ... Congratulations to Anthony for this sterling defence of marriage and to SPUC for their determined campaign on this issue."
Fr Neil Brett, Catholic priest:
"Anthony’s performance was outstanding. All the answers were ready without sounding over-prepared. I was trembling for him while watching the onslaught, but he didn’t put a foot wrong. One of the techniques of these bullies is to feign shock when you say something they dislike. He handled that very well. What they obviously didn’t like was the change in voting. Genuine shock!"
Fr Andrew Southwell, Catholic priest:
"Anthony was superb. To be faced with three hostile individuals on public television and to remain calm and focused was brilliant."
Fr Chris Findlay-Wilson, Catholic priest:
"God bless Anthony. He was magnificent. The Holy Spirit was with him. ... I just wish I could be as calm and collected under fire!"
Fr Daniel Kelly, Catholic priest:
"[I] would like to congratulate Anthony Ozimic of SPUC for his incredible defence of marriage!"
Fr Robert Farrell, of the Dominican Order:
"Please thank Anthony for very convincing defence of marriage. Well done!"
Fr Philip Miller, Catholic priest:
"Well done, Anthony - this was a very tricky setting for a debate, and you did well."
Br Pius Collins, of the Norbertine Order:
"Well done, Anthony! Keep up the good work."
From a Catholic deacon:
"Bravo on your "This Morning" appearance, you flew the flag eloquently and well ... Thank you Anthony for representing the views of so many so bravely."
From bioethicists:

Professor Luke Gormally:
"Anthony was excellent – very calm and very lucid ... Anthony came across as splendidly lucid and as so calmly confident about the truth he had to communicate that he was undistracted by the evident hostility of those challenging him, remaining measured and courteous throughout. A heartening and impressive performance."
From Catholic Church officials:

Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs, Catholic archdiocese of Westminster:
"What was striking about the manner in which the online poll reduced in minutes from 80% in favour of teaching children about homosexuality to 60% was the fact that the impact of Mr Ozimic's insistence on the rights of parents as primary educator not the state or state sponsored agencies is what I believe is the true measure of how the viewers woke up to the harsh reality menacing their families because it's a message they rarely hear. It was clearly the intent of the programme presenters and other guest to demonise Ozimic's views thereby suppressing authentic debate. They were thwarted precisely because Ozimic stayed on message about parent power and its genuine moral authority. A sleeping giant in our culture."
John Deighan, parliamentary officer, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland:
"Anthony was excellent. What a terribly hostile environment they created yet he remained calm and articulate throughout. I noticed that he greatly swung the vote which started out heavily against him and swung by 20% in his favour despite the strong bias of the three against him."
From journalists:

Edward Pentin, "Rome Reports":
"I thought Anthony handled the issue superbly."
From bloggers:

Laurence England, of That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill
"...Anthony single-handedly, against three opponents, reduced public support in the live opinion poll for same-sex marriage to be taught in school by 20%... Anthony was able to do the one thing that people at home who are uncomfortable with the LGBT agenda feel unable to do - that is - he spoke his mind ... Anthony's defence...was a defence mounted in defence of children."
Cum Lazaro, a Scottish Catholic blogger:
"Anthony did extremely well under enormous pressure: I could feel myself getting extremely worked up just watching it, and he managed to remain cool and articulate. Very well done. Particularly impressive as the question posed seems to assume that same sex marriage is already here and the only question is what to say about it in schools. ... I hope that Anthony's intelligence and reasonableness undermined that picture."
Dylan Parry, of A Reluctant Sinner:
"Yes, well done him! It must be very difficult to keep calm in such circumstances."
John Kearney, an English Catholic blogger:
"Anthony showed wonderful skill in his presentation. He refused to be pulled into side issues into which the opposite speaker tried to draw him with what was obvious contempt for anyone disagreeing with her. I am sure if the poll had gone on longer we would have had the same result as the Guardian had in an all day poll several months ago. The pro marriage ahead, gradually being overtaken by the anti marriage."
Tonia Marshall, of Attracted to the Light:
"He did a fabulous job and under heavy fire."
umblepie, an English Catholic blogger:
"Congratulations to Anthony Ozimic. He made his points clearly, calmly, and dispassionately, leaving his three prejudiced opponents beating the air, unable to offer any constructive statements, other than a final, insincere 'how shocking!', from the young woman presenter."
From pro-life activists:

Christine Hudson:
"What an asset Anthony is to SPUC. He is able to think on his feet and give cogent, reasoned answers - and he did not come across as a homophobe bigot - even though they tried their best to make him look like one. Very well done!"
David Ashby:
"Anthony did extremely well faced with three people arguing against him. Well done!!"
Dr A.Majid Katme, Muslim pro-life/pro-family activist:
"Excellent interview...excellent answers by Anthony Ozimic (SPUC) on ITV now regarding the teachings of gay marriage in schools! HE IS THE WINNER"
Dr Daniel Toye, GP:
"Very good. Was like Bruce Lee fighting off three baddies at once. Argumentative kung fu!"
Dr Peter Saunders:
"Good on Anthony for keeping cool under heavy fire. Clear, calm and every word he spoke was true."
Dr Tom Rogers:
"Just seen Anthony Ozimic's consummate performance on the Good Morning Show, Anthony, very well done! - he did so well maintaining a calm and reasoned line of truth in the face of such shrieking, hysterical bigotry. Felt proud to be associated with SPUC - keep up the good work."
Graham Moorhouse:
"Enjoy watching Anthony Ozimic going head to head with three daft liberals on gay "marriage" and win without breaking sweat - absolutely masterful!"
Jenny Ingelbrecht:
"Well done Anthony! It's obvious the presenters were biased, but he answered so well! Amazing that he managed to swing the poll so massively from just a short interview!"
Kevin Rowles:
"Please congratulate Anthony Ozimic on his ‘This Morning’ appearance – I just saw it on YouTube. It was particularly brave of him to speak as this show has a reputation of being little more than a vehicle for daytime smut"
Lisa Hamilton:
"You did a great job Anthony. Thank you for giving a voice to THOUSANDS of us whose voices are muted by the media minority."
John Marechal:
"Congratulations to Anthony on his calm defence of marriage against three excitable opponents. I was most impressed by the way he handled the attacks."
Mark Lambert:
"Have you seen this? Anthony Ozimic is a hero! Takes some courage I'd say, and he stayed so calm throughout!"
Nicolas Bellord, lawyer:
"Anthony Ozimic is a brave man. I wonder whether any of us could have done as well."
Paul Kilbane:
"Well done Anthony, I don’t know how you stick it, they were awful. I hope the whole issue and fights such as yours on TV, makes pro-lifers even more determined and resourceful."
Richard Carvath:
"Well done SPUC. Thank you to Anthony Ozimic and to all SPUC people for the important work you do. You are heroes and lifesavers".
Rhoslyn Thomas:
"Anthony did a job that few people could do! Great work once more from SPUC ... Well done to Anthony and to SPUC for being a loud and clear voice on this issue. He did very well and stayed calm throughout, though, I imagine, it is difficult to do so when you have Holly Willoughby gasping and shaking her head at you."
Robin Haig, SPUC chairman:
"Just watched the interview (ambush) again and appreciate how well he presented the case. Great stuff."
Sandra Rickell:
"Well done Anthony Ozimic re his i/v on @itvthismorning I've never seen such biased interviewing & he remained calm & reasoned ... That's why I admired Anthony Ozimic so much, he was attacked from 3 sides but gave reasoned arguments"
From supporters:

Dr David Jones:
"Enjoyed Anthony's calm and courageous performance and the look on the other panelists' faces at the end poll result. It surely must raise questions in their own minds because how did that narrowing of the poll happen despite their best efforts? What would have happened with a few more minutes? 50:50 or 60:40 the other way?"
Bruce Atkinson:
"Fearless...thank you, we need more of this."
Jim Wiltshire:
"In human terms alone Mr Ozimic's composure would earn him favourable points with any audience; the fact that he was making reasonable points based on history and research was not lost on the viewers either."
Laurence Coventry:
"Congratulations to Anthony on holding his own against such biased aggression from three others. He was accused of judgement, but they were as one-sidedly judgemental as you could imagine."
Leo Darroch:
"I was greatly impressed by Anthony’s composure in the face of such hatred – and, indeed, bigotry. ... It was a completely one-sided and partial attack on a guest who did remarkably well to maintain his composure and dignity, which was something that could not be said about the presenters."
Michael Ollerenshaw:
"Congratulations to Anthony Ozimic for his fantastic performance against the "gay marriage" enthusiasts of ITV. I don't know how he managed to keep his cool in the face of such hostility, but he did - and he was also able to make his own points clearly and effectively."
Mike Ryan:
"Anthony was really excellent on that dreadful television programme. Talk about putting Christians to the lions! He did extremely well to maintain his cool in the face of such blatant provocation."
Paul Endersby:
"Mr Ozimic stood his ground well. He was articulate and clearly in command of his subject, and he came out of it with dignity"
STE Bradley:
"This is just a quick message to say how great I thought he was on the show! The information that he expressed would probably rub most militant activist up the wrong way, but I was particularly impressed by how he justified everything that he had to say. I thoroughly enjoyed how he managed to shock everyone else in the segment with the information he presented but then also quickly silence them with justification for that information. I believe that this person is an asset to this organisation and you should, if not already, be very proud of him."
Valerie Findlay-Wilson:
"I've just watched the video of Anthony Ozimic debating on ITV: please pass on my congratulations and thanks to him, he did so well in the face of attacks from the other 3, he said so many good things in a good, calm way...Watching that is especially good for our 3 teenagers who are having to have these kinds of conversation at the lunch table - even in a Catholic school."
From a complaint to ITV:
"[H]ere was the gentle but firm Anthony - what a great defender for the cause of what millions of people believe, and even pedalling uphill all the way how impressed we were with his serenity, dignity, factual account of what would be excessive for a lot of impressionable kids in the School districts. All the best, and try to get people like Anthony on your shows more often. I'm sure the ratings would blow the roof off."
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Friday, 24 May 2013

Morning after pill is not a "life-saving commodity" says Holy See

Pat Buckley, who is lobbying for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children at the 66th World Health Assembly this week in Geneva, reports on a forthright attack by the Holy See on a resolution before the Assembly which lists "emergency contraception" (the morning-after pill) as a "life-saving commodity".

The Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly is taking place from 20 to 28 May 2013 in the United Nations, Palais des Nations Geneva. The Health Assembly, which is the annual general meeting of the World Health Organisation, this year, is discussing health topics like noncommunicable diseases, universal health coverage, women and children’s health, and is monitoring the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals.

Pat Buckley reports: "Yesterday, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski (above), Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the 66th World Health Assembly, addressed the Assembly. During his address, the archbishop was referring to efforts 'being made to save the lives of millions of women and children who continue to die every year from conditions that can easily be prevented with existing medical commodities' when he turned his fire on the morning-after pill."

Archbishop Zimonski said:
While indeed some of the recommendations [in Resolution EB132.R4] are truly life-saving, that of "emergency contraception" can hardly be labeled as such since it is well known that, when conception already has occurred, certain substances used in “emergency contraception” produce an abortifacient effect. For my delegation, it is totally unacceptable to refer to a medical product that constitutes a direct attack on the life of the child in utero as a “life-saving commodity” and, much worse, to encourage “increasing use of such substances in all parts of the world."
It is good to hear the Holy See speaking out boldly on this fundamental issue. Women are entitled to the truth - and the Catholic Church is serving the best interests of women, children and families worldwide, when it proclaims the truth fearlessly on abortion and abortifacient products in world assemblies.

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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 23 May

Top stories:

The battle against government's same-sex marriage bill moves to the Lords
The bill now goes to the House of Lords where it faces concerted opposition, and there is no guarantee that the government will be able to force it through, despite the government’s strength in the Lords. We need to mount a strong campaign. Please contact katherinehampton@spuc.org.uk to find out what you can do. [SPUC, 23 May]

Lords should have confidence to reject same-sex marriage at first vote
Peers should have confidence to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its first House of Lords debate due on 3 June, says SPUC. SPUC was commenting after the House of Commons voted in favour of the bill by 366 to 161. All amendments which sought to limit the damage that the bill threatens to wreak on society were rejected. Previously MPs voted by 400 to 175 for the bill. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general-secretary, commented: “The fact that the government failed to increase the proportion of MPs supporting the measure indicates the weakness of their case for this bill." [SPUC, 21 May]

Stephen Shaw walks to raise funds in defence of marriage and the unborn
From 20-24 May, Stephen Shaw, Chairman of SPUC’s North and North East Scotland region, will hike along the challenging Speyside Way to raise money for SPUC’s work. [John Smeaton, 22 May] Please consider going the ‘extra mile’ with Stephen and help defend marriage, the family and our precious unborn babies in one or two of the following ways:
  • Making a personal donation in lieu of sponsorship
  • Gathering sponsors for the Speyside Way walk
Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
  • Catholic doctors reject the new stem cell technique [FIAMC, May]
Euthanasia
  • Disabled woman judged 'not worth saving': Charity claims hospital doctors let her die after she developed pneumonia [Mail, 21 May]
Sexual ethics
  • The evidence that blows apart Mr Cameron's claim that gay marriage will strengthen families [Mail, 22 May]
  • Nine in 10 children born to cohabiting couples this year will see parents split by the time they are 16, suggests research [Mail, 22 May]
  • More than 500 imams in landmark gay marriage protest [Telegraph, 19 May]
  • Gay marriage could stop Christians becoming teachers or doctors - church leaders [Telegraph, 19 May]
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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The battle against government's "same-sex marriage" bill moves to the Lords

Yesterday, Parliament again voted on the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The vote was 366 to 161. Although saddening and damaging to the reputation of Parliament, this result was no surprise as the bill has the support of all three main parties in the House of Commons. It is good to note that substantial opposition to it has been maintained.

The number of MPs both supporting and opposing the bill dropped slightly, compared to the second reading vote in February (400 to 175).

Please check how your MP voted and thank those who opposed the bill. If your MP voted for bill (i.e. “X” on the listing), you might point out that the bill negates the main reason for having laws in support marriage – for the benefit and welfare of children. It was a vote of ‘no confidence’ by MPs in real marriage – the foundation for stable family life and the safe, happy upbringing of children.

Some MPs suggested that by copying other countries that have redefined marriage recently, they are on the cutting edge of progress. In fact these other countries are, like Britain, suffering the effects of weakening marriage. (Read SPUC’s What Happens To Marriage And Families Where The Law Recognises “Same Sex Marriage”? by Dr Patricia Morgan.)

Next stage of the campaign

The bill now goes to the House of Lords where it faces concerted opposition, and there is no guarantee that the government will be able to force it through, despite the government’s strength in the Lords.

Already, peers have expressed very strong reservations about the bill. We need to mount a strong campaign. The bill has no public mandate, and this means that peers cannot be asked to accept “the will of the electorate,” and let the government get its bill through. Please contact katherinehampton@spuc.org.uk to find out what you can do.

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Stephen Shaw walks to raise funds in defence of marriage and the unborn

From 20-24 May, Stephen Shaw, Chairman of SPUC’s North and North East Scotland region, will hike along the challenging Speyside Way to raise money for SPUC’s work. For much of the route Stephen will be taking traces the River Spey from the coast to Aviemore situated in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. The River Spey is famous for its salmon fishery, whilst the valleys of the Spey and tributaries such as the Fiddich, Livet and Avon are home to the highest concentration of malt whisky distilleries in Scotland.

This year’s event has a special purpose. As well as generating much-needed funds for SPUC’s existing pro-life work, I must ask for your help to fund our continuing battle against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which threatens to seriously undermine marriage and the family and put unborn children at even greater danger of abortion than they are today. Government statistics show that 80 per cent of abortions in England and Wales are carried out on unmarried women and this is telling us quite clearly that, as an institution, marriage is the greatest defender of unborn children. In countries where same-sex marriage has been legalised—such as Spain—real (heterosexual) marriage has declined. That is why it is so important that the Same Sex Marriage bill is stopped. Stephen will be sending out regular updates and photos of his walk. Below is today's:
Stephen & Sheila at Boat O’Brig
Tuesday
Today, I was joined by Sheila, a member of the Banff & Buchan Branch from Huntly.

We set off from Fochabers in light drizzle along the minor road to Boat O’Brig where the Aberdeen to Inverness Railway and the B9103 from Keith to Rothes cross the Spey on adjacent bridges.  The drizzle soon stopped and some small areas of blue sky appeared by the time we reached Boat O’Brig.  At this point we caught up with two Germans (a different pair from Monday) and a couple from Stirling caught up with us.

Beyond Boat O’Brig, the Way climbs alongside farmland and provides lovely views of the valley in both directions.  It then enters the Ben Aigan Forest adjacent to the Speyside Gun Club.  The Red Flag was flying to warn us that firing was taking place, although we heard the gunfire long before we saw the flag!  The signs recommended that we did not stray from the marked path.  We obediently complied.  The climbing takes place in the first 2 or 3 miles of this section and leads onto a forest road with a picnic bench, where we stopped for our lunch.  We met the couple from Stirling again at this point.  They showed an interest in the sponsored walk and kindly made a donation to our funds.  By and large, the remaining 5 or 6 miles to Craigellachie were a gentle downhill walk on a forest road and then a minor road.

The last 2 miles of the day’s walk, from Craigellachie to Aberlour, followed the route of the former railway along the side of the river.  As the service is hourly, we made a special effort to reach the bus stop in Aberlour in time for the bus.  We just made it by the advertised time.  The bus, however, was 15 minutes late!

I would like to thank Sheila for accompanying me on this, which is one of the two more strenuous sections of the Speyside Way, and for her efforts in securing sponsorship in her parish.

Stephen
Please consider going the ‘extra mile’ with Stephen and help defend marriage, the family and our precious unborn babies in one or two of the following ways:
  • Making a personal donation in lieu of sponsorship
  • Gathering sponsors for the Speyside Way walk
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You don't have to be in the pro-life movement to be fired up by abortion's injustice

I joined the pro-life movement 40 years ago this year, giving my first talk on abortion to schoolchildren in south London in 1973.

Actually, though, on reflection, I was unaware I had joined a "movement". I was simply appalled at the injustice of abortion, having read Jack Scarisbrick's little book "What's wrong with abortion?" and I wanted to do something about it.

Every day that sense of injustice is renewed by reading, watching, or hearing something new ... And I think: "Why isn't every decent person in my church, in society, fighting this injustice?"

You don't have to be in the pro-life movement to be fired by the injustice of abortion and determined to stop it.

You can be:
  • a feminist
  • a bishop
  • a member of a justice and peace group
  • a doctor
  • a supervisor midwife - like Connie and Mary, the brave Glasgow midwives whom SPUC has been supporting in their fight for their right to conscientious objection
You can be anyone!

If you know someone who's hesitating to get involved in helping to stop abortion, just ask them to look at the video I watched for the first time this morning in which three former abortion clinic workers (pictured above) are interviewed.

How can any decent person, having watched that, not want to do something to stop abortion?  How could any decent person vote for a politician who upholds legislation permitting it?

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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Lords should have confidence to reject same-sex marriage bill at first vote

Peers should have confidence to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its first House of Lords debate due on 3 June.

SPUC was commenting after the House of Commons voted in favour of the bill this evening by 366 to 161. All amendments which sought to limit the damage that the bill threatens to wreak on society were rejected. Previously MPs voted by 400 to 175 for the bill.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s general-secretary, told the media this evening:
“The fact that the government failed to increase the proportion of MPs supporting the measure indicates the weakness of their case for this bill.

The consequences of allowing the bill to pass are grave, most significantly the effective abolition of real marriage in English law. Marriage will be redefined as a genderless institution. The link between marriage and child-rearing will be seriously eroded. Significantly, Greg Mulholland MP yesterday called upon Parliament to abolish marriage in English law and replace it with a vague and arbitrarily-invented ‘civil union’. Charlotte Leslie MP defined marriage as ‘a social construct’, when in fact it is a building-block of society, and the common patrimony of humanity. And today, Kate Green, the Labour front-bencher, even questioned the existence of any fundamental English law of marriage.

Once parliamentarians decide to dismantle legal protections for the institution of marriage, then the welfare of children – the main reason for state recognition of marriage – will suffer. Statistics show that the family based on the marriage of one man and one woman is the most protective environment for children, both before and after birth. It is revealing that neither Maria Miller, the minister in charge of the bill, nor Yvette Cooper, the Labour party spokesman, made one single mention of children in relation to marriage in this evening's debate.

The experience of other countries where marriage has been redefined shows that calling same-sex unions ‘marriage’ damages real marriage – leading fewer people to regard marriage as relevant to parenthood, and all that that entails for tomorrow’s children. SPUC provided evidence to the Commons bill committee showing that this had happened in other countries that have already implemented similar laws."
SPUC's evidence "What happens to marriage and families where the law recognises 'same-sex marriage'?" can be read in full at www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssmsub20130301)

SPUC has also published a position paper on same-sex marriage – explaining why SPUC campaigns for real marriage, and a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Politicians excommunicate themselves by supporting abortion, says Irish archbishop

In all the media and political whirlwind over the weekend surrounding the British government's same sex marriage proposals and the Irish government's disastrous legislative proposals on abortion, there could be heard the still small voice of Archbishop Eamon Martin, ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh last month (picture right), telling Irish politicians they are excommunicating themselves if they support abortion.

Yesterday, the Sunday Times carried the following story under the headline Church warns pro-abortion TDs:
The next Catholic primate of Ireland has said politicians who “knowingly introduce legislation aiding and abetting abortion” should not “approach [a priest] looking for communion”.

In the clearest statement so far on the church’s position Archbishop Eamon Martin, who will succeed Cardinal Se├ín Brady next year, said legislators who support abortion are excommunicating themselves.

“You cannot regard yourself as a person of faith and support abortion,” Martin said in an interview with The Sunday Times. “You cannot believe you are with your church and directly help someone to procure an abortion. This includes medical professionals and the legislators.

“If a legislator comes to me and says, ‘Can I be a faithful Catholic and support abortion?’ I would say no. Your communion is ruptured if you support abortion. You are excommunicating yourself. Any legislator who clearly and publicly states this should not approach looking for communion".
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