I mischaracterized the Archbishop’s priorities on “life” issues, his spokeswoman says

In response to a recent post in which I wrote that Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s priorities are GOP prioritiesKarna Swanson, Communications Director, Archdiocese of Denver, writes: 

It was unfortunate to see you mischaracterize the position of Archbishop Aquila on life issues in this blog post. You say, “Aquila’s priorities are GOP priorities.” 

Actually, the Archbishop is in lock-step with the priorities of Pope Francis that you mention, particularly immigration and the death penalty. His position against the death penalty is well known. See his column here on the issue.

“The problem with the death penalty,” he states, “is that in trying to solve the problem of violence, we take up violence as our tool. Christians need to stop the cycles of violence that erode our souls—we need to stop participating in the culture of death. Instead of deterring crime, the culture of death makes all of us more open to evil and violence and crime.” See his letter on immigration hereSee his column on the “Francis Option” here.

A top priority of Archbishop Aquila is life. And he supports people and organizations that promote life, and help all life to flourish.

Regarding Planned Parenthood, it’s a fact that according to their 2013-2014 report, the organization performed 327,653 abortions. To the Archbishop, and to Catholics, that is a loss of 327,653 lives. 

You can mislead with stats that show that Planned Parenthood “only” does so many abortions a year compared with other services they provide, but the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of lives are ended each year by this organization. It doesn’t matter what other redeeming qualities they may have, that number—327,653—cannot be ignored. That number means that Planned Parenthood is an organization that promotes death, not life.

For this reason, neither Pope Francis, nor Archbishop Aquila, nor any future archbishop, will ever be able to say, “Planned Parenthood mostly embodies what the Catholic Church stands for,” because the Catholic Church will always stand for life, at all stages, in every moment.

I told Swanson that I know and respect the Archbishop’s priority of life. But we all have to prioritize, even within the broad category of “life,” and I think banning abortion is a higher priority for Archbishop Aquila than the stopping the death penalty or addressing poverty. That’s what it looks like to me, from a distance. Hence, his priorities are in line with Republican prioriteis.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.