Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg recently complained, “I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion.”
Of course, this canard is common among the professional pro-abortion crowd, but it sounds strangely out of tune coming from a Bishop who, in the past, has been supportive of the pro-life movement.
So what’s going on?
There’s a history here. Since 1960, when candidate John F. Kennedy famously promised in Houston that he would not allow his Catholic faith to interfere with his politics, there has existed among the Catholic hierarchy an influential segment that valued liberal politics more than Church teaching. Various members of this informal cadre advised JFK, welcomed the 1967 rebellion of Catholic universities against Church authority led by Notre Dame, and carefully managed the reputation rehab of Teddy Kennedy after he killed Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick two years later.
A key player in the leftward descent of the Catholic Church since the 1960s emerged during the same era. Bishop Joseph Bernardin, who eventually became Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, was the major influence guiding the Catholic bishops’ conference from 1969 until his death in 1996.