Archbishop Censures Clinton Stop at Catholic University
Says Senator's Record Not Consistent With Church Teaching
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas, FEB. 13, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of San Antonio said he was "surprised" to hear that a local Catholic university will be the spot for a campaign rally for Senator Hilary Clinton, whose records he says are not consistent with Church teaching.
Archbishop José Gomez said this today in a press statement ahead of Clinton's scheduled campaign rally at St. Mary's University this evening. Clinton, a longtime supporter of abortion rights, is holding the event as part of her bid for the White House.
In an official message from the communications office of the archdiocese, Archbishop Gomez said, "I was surprised to learn of Senator Hillary Clinton’s appearance at St. Mary’s University. I was neither advised nor consulted by the university before the decision was made to have Senator Clinton speak at the university."
The prelate affirmed: "Catholic institutions are obliged to teach and promote Catholic values in all instances. This is especially important when people look to our Catholic universities and colleges to provide leadership and clarity to the often complicated and conflicting political discourse.
"It is clear that the records of Senator Clinton and some of the other candidates for president on important life issues are not consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church."
In the message that drew the support of Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo and Bishop Thomas Flanagan, retired auxiliary bishop of San Antonio, Archbishop Gomez stated clearly, "It is not my intention to tell people for whom to vote."
"However," he continued, "I encourage Catholics to understand the teachings of the Church on the broad spectrum of public issues that are of great concern today."
The 56-year-old archbishop recalled a 2004 document from the U.S. episcopal conference that "affirmed that when dealing with political candidates and public office holders, 'The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.'"
Archbishop Gomez acknowledged that a disclaimer from St. Mary's said the institution "as a Catholic tax-exempt university," does not "endorse political candidates or their positions on issues and acknowledges the fundamental differences between those of the presidential candidates and the Catholic Church."
But the San Antonio archbishop affirmed, "Our Catholic institutions must promote the clear understanding of our deep moral convictions on an issue like abortion, an act that the Church calls 'an unspeakable crime' and a non-negotiable issue."