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CNN Decries ‘Politically Motivated’ Bishops On Abortion, Communion

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On Friday, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops took a steps that may culminate with pro-abortion politicians, like President Joe Biden, being denied communion. On his CNN show that night, liberal Anderson Cooper welcomed liberal Jesuit priest James Martin and former liberal congressman and current CNN commentator Joe Kennedy III to accuse the bishops of being politically motivated.

Cooper asked Martin, “this is not a new position for President Biden and he’s been in public life for nearly half a century and been a Catholic all that time. Why do you think the Bishop’s Conference made this move now?” 

Martin theorized that the timing has to do with the fact that Biden is now president, which would make sense, but he then made the conversation about Republicans, “other Catholic politicians have not agreed with the Church on. For example, the death penalty, you have someone like Attorney General Barr ordering executions and there wasn’t talk about this.”

That, according to Martin, is unfortunate because it “makes it very difficult for people to move away from the assumption that at least some of this is politically motivated.”

Cooper was eager to keep the focus on Republicans and not abortion, asking Kennedy, “That’s interesting, Congressman Kennedy, do you think politics are at play here?” 

Kennedy, being a good liberal Democrat, of course agreed, saying it was hard not to see the “juxtaposition of the lack of criticism from other high profile Republican office holders or appointees.”

He insisted that he understands Biden is the president and that the bishops felt the need to clarify doctrine, but he also alleged:

It is odd when you compare the devotion of President Biden to his faith with the behavior of former President Trump and the lack of a peep of criticism from the Conference of Catholic Bishops with regards to President Trump’s behavior in office individually or his policies and so it seems to create a pretty robust double standard where by you end up targeting Democratic politicians.

Of course, Trump is not Catholic, but Kennedy still went on to say that if the bishops and conservative Catholics really care about life, they will support liberal climate change and gun control policies, “if this is a devote question about life, then let lean into the epidemic of gun violence in this country and doing more to prevent gun violence, let’s lean into the issues on climate change and the conference so far hasn’t done that I think it obviously in near as a systemic ways as we’ve seen with regards to this issue.”

Cooper asked Martin to conclude the segment by talking about Kennedy’s point about hypocrisy. Martin pointed out that the bishops did condemn Trump on immigration, but agreed that the bishops should speak out more on other liberal priorities, “I think it’s unfair to just focus on one single issue as if that is the only — even the only life issue we’re supposed to be concerned about.” 

This segment was sponsored by Cadillac.

Here is a transcript for the June 19 show:

CNN

Anderson Cooper 360

8:37 PM ET

ANDERSON COOPER: Father Martin, this is not a new position for President Biden and he’s been in public life for nearly half a century and been a Catholic all that time. Why do you think the Bishop’s Conference made this move now? 

JAMES MARTIN: Well, I think, you know, because he’s president now he has much more of a high profile and they felt some of the bishops felt their own credibility was on the line and the Church’s credibility is on the line and also other issues other politicians, other Catholic politicians have not agreed with the Church on. For example, the death penalty, you have someone like Attorney General Barr ordering executions and there wasn’t talk about this. So unfortunately, many of the bishops and the Bishops Conference meeting mention President Biden and Speaker Pelosi and makes it very difficult for people to move away from the assumption that at least some of this is politically motivated. 

COOPER: That’s interesting, Congressman Kennedy, do you think politics are at play here?

JOE KENNEDY III: I would agree with Father Martin, I try never to disagree with him as much as I can. I think it’s hard to not particularly when we see the juxtaposition of the lack of criticism from other high profile Republican office holders or appointees and, you know, I can understand on the one hand the logic of saying President Biden is the president. He’s a practicing Catholic, we need to clarify these doctrines, fine. It is odd when you compare the devotion of President Biden to his faith with the behavior of former President Trump and the lack of a peep of criticism from the Conference of Catholic Bishops with regards to President Trump’s behavior in office individually or his policies and so it seems to create a pretty robust double standard where by you end up targeting Democratic politicians and again, if this is a devote question about life, then let lean into the epidemic of gun violence in this country and doing more to prevent gun violence, let’s lean into the issues on climate change and the conference so far hasn’t done that I think it obviously in near as a systemic ways as we’ve seen with regards to this issue.

COOPER: Father Martin, do you see a hypocrisy in the lack of push back from conservative Catholics and other religious figures over the former president’s behavior and then this? 

MARTIN: I would say the U.S. Bishop’s Conference was very vocal about the issue of refugees and migrants so they were in opposition to President Trump when he was in office. I think the difficulty is the fact that there are so many issues that one could look at in terms of Catholic teaching. Pope Francis said, you know, in addition to the lives of the unborn equally sacred are the poor and refugees and migrants so unfortunately, so much of the discussion focused almost solely on abortion that it’s very hard for people to get away from the idea this is in a sense the only issue and really, I think it’s unfair to just focus on one single issue as if that is the only — even the only life issue we’re supposed to be concerned about.

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