Over the weekend, John Kerry said that he believes that "life begins at conception" but in the same breath reiterated his support for Roe v. Wade (Washington Post, "Kerry Says He Believes Life Starts at Conception," July 5, 2004, by Jonathan Finer).
In the church canon law suit filed in June against Kerry, one of the offenses for which Kerry is denounced reads as follows:
Diabolical Scandal Leading to Heresy--Can. 1399 CIC: Defendant [Kerry] has willfully and with knowledge of the opposition to Church doctrine committed actions by facts, words, signs, and silence directly capable of leading others into supporting the Right-to-Choose doctrine, with the intent to pervert their hearts.
Source: "Denunciation of U.S. Senator John F. Kerry for Heresy" (filed 6/14/04), available at DeFide.com.
And so, with eerie timing, here is Kerry doing exactly what this count of the church suit alleges. He is teaching others that being pro-choice is fully compatible with the Catholic belief that life begins at conception. To make matters worse, he made the statement in an interview before attending Mass and receiving Communion in Iowa--an outing which he made into a campaign event by attending with his close supporter Iowa Governor Thomas Vilsak, also a pro-abortion Catholic. Kerry is thus manipulating his reception of the Eucharist and Mass attendance for maximum political gain. This practice was recently denounced in the bishops' statement entitled "Catholics in Political Life":
The polarizing tendencies of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political ends. Respect for the Holy Eucharist, in particular, demands that it be received worthily and that it be seen as the source for our common mission in the world.
True to form, Kerry made the statement that life begins at conception in the face of Catholics increasingly troubled by his views on abortion. It is by now the shared opinion of many in this country that Kerry just tells people what they want to hear. So when faced with troubled Catholics, he gives them the statement that life begins at conception to make them feel that, deep down, he is a good Catholic who is really pro-life. But, of course, it is a great lie. When addressing pro-abortion rallies, Kerry plays the pro-abortion extremist.
When I first read the canonical Denunciation of Kerry, I wondered at the use of the word "diabolical," given my personal view that inflammatory phrases can be counterproductive. As an attorney, I assumed the shocking word was in the denunciation as a required term of art in canon law pleadings. But, now, after seeing Kerry's latest breathtaking effort at deception, I see that the word is completely apt. To teach others as a prominent public figure who will be in the center of the public eye for the next four months that Catholic belief is compatible with Roe v. Wade is a great lie. And lies are diabolical for we know from Scripture who is the father of lies. Tomorrow morning I plan to join the heresy suit against Kerry. If Kerry can show chutzpah, so can we. Many of us again and again urge our bishops to be bold. It is now time for us to be bold too. It is no exaggeration to say that for American Catholics 2004 is a historic year of decision even more so than for other Americans.
Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch
Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.