TEXAS BISHOPS SLAM FAITHFUL PRO-LIFE GROUP

Texas Bishops Slam Faithful Pro-Life Group

by Stephen Wynne • ChurchMilitant.com • February 22, 2018

Church leaders shielding RINOs?

AUSTIN, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) – Fake Republicans in Texas are losing, and the Catholic bishops seem ready to sacrifice a faithful pro-life leader to defend them.

On Thursday, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops issued a rebuke to Texas Right to Life, warning parishes “not to participate in their activities or allow the organization to use parish sites.”

Texas Right to Life, headed by outspoken Catholic Jim Graham, has openly, consistently criticized the “soft push” of GOP Establishment leaders who have obstructed pro-life legislation. The bishops, meanwhile — members of the Church Establishment — are cozy with Texas RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).

The bishops’ denouncement of Texas Right to Life comes in the wake of a split looming inside the Texas Republican Party — a winnowing of the conservative wheat from the Establishment chaff. Internal polling indicates Lone Star State RINOs are facing extinction in the upcoming elections, and political insiders believe the bishops’ “advisory” is a ploy to save their political hides. By demonizing Texas Right to Life, they suggest, the bishops hope to preserve their political allies in office.

According to their “advisory,” the bishops are spurning Texas Right to Life for three reasons:

Conflicts on pro-life reform. The bishops complained the group “often opposes the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and has implied that the bishops do not faithfully represent Church teaching.” Texas Right to Life rejects the bishops’ “incrementalism” as a halting, soft approach.

Conflicts on end-of-life reform. The bishops slammed Texas Right to Life’s messaging on end-of-life care and advance directives as “misstatements.”

Texas Right to Life’s voter guide. The group publishes an annual voter guide scoring Texas lawmakers according to their pro-life record. The bishops have denounced the guide as built on unfair analysis, and they maintain “a number of legislators who have consistently voted for pro-life and end of life legislation have been opposed by Texas Right to Life.”

This isn’t the first time Texas Right to Life has run afoul of the Church Establishment. In 2013, Jeffrey Patterson, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, wrote to state Representative Dan Huberty on behalf of the bishops, blasting Texas Right to Life’s voter guide as “unconventional,” “subjective” and producing “perplexing results.” He complained that the voter guide assigned low scores to “pro-life lawmakers who have worked long and hard to protect and preserve life.”

But Republican lawmakers like Byron Cook and Joseph Straus, key leaders of the Texas GOP Establishment, have been criticized by Texas Right to Life for obstructing pro-life laws.

As Church Militant reported in October 2017, “Cook, as the chairman of the Texas House State Affairs Committee, has worked overtime to block pro-life legislation from being passed in the Texas legislature despite claiming to be pro-life.” For example, he killed HB1113, the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform, which would prohibit insurance companies from paying for elective abortions.

The pro-life bills Cook did support were considered “weak” and “fake” by Texas Right to Life — “ineffective or non-priority” measures that were actually “detrimental to the pro-life movement.”

Straus, meanwhile, as Speaker of the House, “put a sudden end to a special legislative session” that Gov. Greg Abbott had called in order to address important bills Establishment Republicans ignored during the 2016–17 regular session.

Seeing the writing on the wall, in 2017 Cook and Straus announced they wouldn’t seek re-election.

Texas Right to Life responded by declaring the news “worthy of an epic celebration,” aruing, “In order for the Establishment ship to stay afloat, Straus and Cook had to walk the gangplank, rather than face an embarrassing electoral pummeling and sink the entire Establishment ship.”

“If the members of the Texas House think they should merely change the name on the door of the speaker’s office to another one of Gordon Johnson’s puppets,” Texas Right to Life added, “they too, should resign and resign in shame and be treated for Stockholm syndrome, before they are defeated by their electorate in the March 6, 2018 primary.”

This primary, political insiders say, is what sparked today’s denunciation of Texas Right to Life. If RINOs have any hope of retaining office, they have to silence the voice of unrelenting critics like Texas Right to Life. The “advisory,” observers suggest, is the work of collusion between the bishops’ conference and RINOs desperate to cling to power in the face of an approaching wipe-out at the ballot box.

Representing the Lone Star State’s 13 dioceses and 2 archdioceses, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops includes:

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio
Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin
Bishop Curtis John Guillory of Beaumont
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville
Bishop Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi
Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas
Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso
Bishop Michael F. Olson of Ft. Worth
Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo
Bishop Robert Coerver of Lubbock
Bishop Michael J. Sis of San Angelo
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler
Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria

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3 comments on “TEXAS BISHOPS SLAM FAITHFUL PRO-LIFE GROUP

  1. I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!
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    Why, the very idea. Tsk! Tsk!

  2. TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE RESPONDS TO THE CRAZY ATTACK ON IT BY THE TEXAS CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
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    Posted on February 27, 2018 by abyssum
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    Texas Right to Life responds to unjustified attack
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    BY TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE ON FEBRUARY 24, 2018
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    Texas Right to Life is disappointed but not surprised by recent politically motivated attacks about the endorsements made in the upcoming Republican Primary Election on March 6. We are thankful for our devoted members and committed activists who are not duped or distracted by such invectives and who have encouraged Texas Right to Life to stay focused on winning.
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    Texas Right to Life has worked for decades with diverse stakeholders and advocacy organizations to build consensus on needed life-saving incremental reforms. Uncharitable mischaracterizations of our political and policy goals serve only to dissolve the spirit of collaboration that yielded recent legislative victories to protect the most vulnerable in our state—victories that were hard-fought against the leadership of the Texas House.
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    Under the leadership of Joe Straus and his henchman Byron Cook, most life-saving legislation was killed in the committee process, and no priority Pro-Life legislation would have become law without the direct intervention of Governors Perry and Abbott. Because of the tyrannical grip on the Texas House, Texas has fallen from fourth most Pro-Life state in the nation to twelfth, according to national Pro-Life rankings.
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    Although Straus and Cook have announced their departure, one of the goals of this upcoming Republican Primary Election is to defeat a few more of the liberal House leadership and those with ties to the Austin Establishment. In doing so, Texas Right to Life has endorsed challengers and incumbents who are committed to new leadership in the Texas House—leadership who will help Texas regain our rightful place in top national Pro-Life rankings and who will not cater to the Austin lobby interests.
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    Texas Right to Life, our staff, our board, and our members are unapologetic in speaking the truth, including during election time, about which elected officials help or hurt the Pro-Life cause. We are unafraid to forge ahead with focused determination in the wake of political attacks from those who work to keep the Austin Establishment and lukewarm incumbents in power.

  3. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
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    Posted on February 27, 2018 by abyssum
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    Posted by Kassi on Monday, February 26, 2018
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    Updated: The Texas Bishops’ Attack on Texas Right to Life: My Letter to Bishop Olson Requesting an In-Person Meeting to Discuss It
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    UPDATE: I’m updating this to include a link to Rep. Matt Rinaldi’s letter to Bishop Burns. I think it is well worth reading.
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    ORIGINAL POST:
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    You may have heard that the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops issued a “Parish Advisory on Texas Right to Life” last week basically banning them from any parish property and telling everyone that TxRTL lies, misrepresents the faith, etc. As set forth by Bishop Olson of Fort Worth – who seems to be the primary promoter of this, “The advisory regards the hostile position of Texas Right to Life towards the authentic Catholic teaching on the dignity of human life…” None of this is true and no specific examples are given. Indeed, when I mentioned this to Bishop Olson in a tweet, I received no response.
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    Readers of this blog know that I have taken issue with the TCCB’s position on the Texas Advanced Directives Act (“TADA”) and end-of-life issues as they seem to have consistently worked against any true reform efforts made to give even some semblance of due process to a patient. (If you are unfamiliar with TADA, search this blog, it has been pretty much entirely dedicated to that issue.) You know that I find nothing in Church teaching to support it morally. You know that I find nothing in the Constitution to support a total denial of due process rights to an ill patient. You know that I in no way support euthanasia, much less passive euthanasia, much less involuntary passive euthanasia which is exactly what TADA is. Thus, those that would work against any reform of this draconian law can only logically be said to support involuntary passive euthanasia.
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    On the other hand, contrary to what I have written, try to find something where TxRTL has accused the TCCB of not holding fast to Catholic doctrine. Try to find TxRTL insulting the Bishops and calling them bad Catholics as Bishop Olson has done to them. Try to find something where TxRTL is claiming authority to teach Catholic doctrine. Try to find something where TxRTL is discussing Church doctrine. You won’t find anything. Because that is not their mission. They are not a Catholic organization, but a pro-life organization made up of individuals of various faiths. Their collective mission is promoting the value and sanctity of all life from womb to natural death – in utero, in the hospital, in all conditions from all threats that the culture of death brings. The allegations in this Advisory ring hollow because they are. In its response, Texas Right to Life did not respond in kind and did not get personal.
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    The TCCB has come after TxRTL before, but never in so calumnious a manner. I suspect this is the result of the “Francis effect” and the “Trump effect.” Decorum is out the window. Everything is a bar fight and you should expect that from those who see themselves as your opponents no matter what office they hold. It is a scandal. The Church is in crisis and that is no secret to anyone, Catholic or not.
    I thought long and hard about this situation. As a faithful Catholic, it both grieves and enrages me. We don’t have enough to be concerned about and focused on?
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    Really? But what is a lay person to do? The hierarchy are often misguided and believe themselves immune to correction – filial or by the laity. It seems a hopeless business. But in recent days I have been reminded of Blessed John Henry Newman who taught that a well-informed laity was necessary to the Church and, indeed, did much to save the Church from the effects of the Arian Heresy when the majority of bishops adopted that heresy. I have written of this before and analogized that heresy with the state of the TCCB on TADA.
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    After thinking long and hard about this – praying – I felt a calling (a conviction as some of my dear, dear faithful Protestant friends might call it) to write the following letter which I have mailed and emailed to Bishop Olson after requesting four separate times on Twitter to meet to discuss these matters with him. (There was a time people met to discuss their differences calmly and professionally and in-person.) He “subtweeted” me and commented on the negativity of the tweets concerning the Parish Advisory. That avoids substance. If you have noticed anything about this blog, you should know that I am all about substance. I don’t care much for talking points and who’s allied with whom. I care about people, the pro-life cause, and the pro-life mission. I have worked with all the major groups in the state in my nearly 20 years in the movement. I have seen things that I will not share but have taught me a great deal. Politics is a messy business and not everything is as it seems and that is just as true for the organizations as it is for politicians.
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    Trust me when I tell you that there is only one organization that is true to the pro-life message from womb until tomb via natural death (not hastened by the denial of life-sustaining treatment) and that is Texas Right to Life. If they ever cease to be faithful and consistent to the mission of protecting all life, I will talk to them privately and then go public if need be, following the counsel of the Bible. That is how we should all deal with one another.
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    Thus, I have responded in what I hope is a respectful, meaningful, and substantive way. This letter is my fifth attempt to obtain a meeting with Bishop Olson. I explain why I think that is necessary and why I believe I am a person that can discuss these matters with him. I have no illusions (delusions?) that he will meet with me or anyone else even as I hope and pray he does. Nevertheless, believing that all things are possible with God, I ask each of you to prayerfully consider respectfully emailing, tweeting, calling, and writing him to ask him to meet with me about this. He needs to hear from someone other than those advising him and the TCCB to engage in scandal upon scandal as it relates to this ill-conceived Advisory and all the inside baseball internecine political warfare that this telegraphs to everyone. (And people are picking up on it because I’m being asked about just this aspect of it.) If he chooses not to meet with anyone on the matter and if the TCCB persists in this action without explanation and details to back up the flame-throwing, that in and of itself will tell you what you need to know.
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    Here is my letter:
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    As a final note, I will be sending a copy of this to my own Bishop Burns here in the Dallas Diocese, who put this on their website. The annual Bishop’s appeal came this weekend right after this bomb was thrown by the TCCB. The Dallas Diocese will receive no money from my family. None. I will not support any organization that engages in these tactics and opposes meaningful, substantive reform to TADA. I encourage you all to consider doing the same and telling your bishops why.
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    Sometimes we suffer in the short term so that we might benefit in the long term. It is time that we sacrifice in many ways so that we might begin to take back our Church. The laity has a voice, we need to use it. This is just one of many things going on that needs our attention, but it is local and it is significant because of all that it demonstrates about our leadership.
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    A movement needs to happen. Here. Now. With you. With me. Before all truly is lost. Will you help?
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    Please pray for all involved. This is a mess – an embarrassing, scandalous, unnecessary mess created by the TCCB and ramped up to a feverish pitch by Bishop Olson. And…I think I’ll just leave it at that.

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