Former Denver archbishop: ‘Catholics weep over Barack Obama,’ abortion

Roman Catholic Cardinal James Francis Stafford, who was Denver’s archbishop until being tapped for a Vatican position in 1996, warned a university audience President-elect Barack Obama’s “anti-life agenda” on abortion is “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” in an address reported Thursday by the Catholic News Agency. Stafford told students at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., that the next few years will be “among the most divisive in our nation’s history” because Americans were distracted by the prospect of electing an African-American president from Obama’s “deadly vision of human life.”

“Catholics weep over Barack Obama’s words,” Stafford said. “We weep over the violence concealed behind his rhetoric and that of Joseph Biden and what appears to be that of the majority of the incoming Congress.”

Calling the Nov. 4 election “a cultural earthquake,” Stafford recounted an Obama campaign promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act upon taking office. Stafford then quoted Obama telling a Planned Parenthood audience he “put Roe [vs. Wade] at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law.” The Democrat’s vision “is modernist and rooted in the Enlightenment,” Stafford concludes — a scathing criticism at the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

Denver’s current archbishop, Charles Chaput, sounded similar notes about Obama’s stance on abortion a month ago in a speech called “Little Murders.” Chaput called Obama the “most committed” abortion-right candidate since Roe, and went on to call for Joe Biden, a Catholic, to be denied communion because of his position on abortion.

Catholics United, a liberal group that came under fire from Chaput, fired back with a statement saying Chaput was impeding much-needed dialogue among Catholics over how to handle the abortion controversy short of the unlikely repeal of Roe.

Read Stafford’s complete remarks as prepared for delivery at Catholic News Agency.com.

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Ernest Luning

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