House Democrats Release Historic Catholic Statement of Principle, or So They Say

In a Congressional Press Release dated February 28, 2006 and given wide coverage by all the media, we were told the following: A majority of Catholic Democrats in the US House led by Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn.-3) today released a statement of principles.

A Gospel Vignette for Our Times

Signed by 55 House Democrats, the statement documents how their faith influences them as lawmakers, making clear their commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching and their bearing on policy — whether it is increasing access to education for all or pressing for real health care reform, taking seriously the decision to go to war, or reducing poverty. Above all, the document expresses the signers’ commitment to the dignity of life and their belief that government has moral purpose.

And it came to pass that Jesus and some of His disciples were passing through the city, and an influential Catholic legislator, with a great number of her Party colleagues who were also Catholic, approached Jesus and said to Him, “Good Master, we just released a statement proudly expressing our strong support for Catholic social teaching. Tell us again, what must we do to attain eternal life?”


“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone. You’ve heard the Gospel: ‘Feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, promote peace, protect the stranger in your midst, care for the sick.’”

“Oh Master,” said the spokesperson for the contingent, her face beaming with pride, “we have promoted and sponsored much legislation to accomplish all those things. What is there yet remaining for us to do?”

And Jesus said, “If you would be perfect, go, co-sponsor legislation defending pre-born human life, then you will have eternal life in heaven.”

But when they heard this many went away indignant at His words, for many among them were very pro-choice.

The NARAL Magisterium Has Spoken

To further quote from the same February 28 “historic” statement:

“We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion — we do not celebrate its practice.” No, but apparently Ms. DeLauro (and every other female signatory to this statement) has never seen a pro-abortion (excuse me, I’m not good at euphemisms — “pro-choice”) piece of legislation she hasn’t liked — at least one she has enough Catholic objection to for a “no” vote — so much so that in 2004 the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) proudly gave Ms. DeLauro a 100% approval score.

NARAL awards such a dubious honor to any congressional representative “to the degree that each official supported the interests of the [NARAL] organization.” Let it be known that it isn’t easy to score a 100 with the scorekeepers at NARAL. Any deviation from their strident pro-abortion legislative agenda is duly noted and reflected in their annual score on abortion-related legislation. So much for “not celebrat[ing] its practice.” That’s fine, Ms. DeLauro. No need to “celebrate.” In fact, (we can hear the reassuring words of her NARAL backers) we don’t even care if, at the end of the day, you use up a whole box of tissues as you make your way back to your office in the Rayburn Office Building. Just remember, if you want to continue to enjoy those high NARAL scores to make sure you vote to give NARAL’s abortion “rights” agenda your unqualified support.

To be fair, it must be said that among the male congressional representatives who signed this statement, not all received that same 100% NARAL rating. In fact, a few, like Rep. Dale E. Kildee (Mich.-5), scored a perfect zero, while the NARAL scores of some other male members of the House barely rose into the double digits. Sadly, every female representative (Rep. Kildee is male) who signed the February 28 statement received a perfect 100% score from NARAL.

And in This Corner, the Good Cardinal

What might the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin have said regarding this tragic paradox of legislators who while giving lip-service to the whole fabric of Catholic social teaching, turn a cold shoulder to a key plank (if not the overriding principle that guides all the others)? Fortunately for us he addressed the matter squarely in a 1989 Respect Life Sunday statement entitled “Deciding for Life.” (He might justifiably have entitled it “Legislating for Life”):

“Not all values, however, are of equal weight. Some are more fundamental than others. On this Respect Life Sunday, I wish to emphasize that no earthly value is more fundamental than human life itself. Human life is the condition for enjoying freedom and all other values. Consequently, if one must choose between protecting or serving lesser human values that depend upon life for their existence and life itself, human life must take precedence. Today the recognition of human life as a fundamental value is threatened. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of elective abortion. At present in our country this procedure takes the lives of over 4,000 unborn children every day and over 1.5 million each year.”

You can read the “historic” statement in its entirety, and see the complete list of signatories, by going here.

For those curious about their own Congressional Representative's NARAL approval rating, here's a link to NARAL's 2004 Congressional ratings list.

© Copyright 2006 Catholic Exchange

Dennis Embo is Respect Life representative for Sacred Heart Cathedral parish and the author of The God That Prevailed. Visit his website at

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