Texas Bishops Slam Faithful Pro-Life Group

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

Church leaders shielding RINOs?

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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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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." 
  3. 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 

The conference is available for comment:

Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
PO Box 13285
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 339-9882

Email: https://txcatholic.org/contact/email-us/
Twitter: @TXCatholic

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