DEARBORN, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholics are outraged another pro-choice politician will be given a Catholic funeral.
Throughout John Dingell's nearly six decades serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, his many and varied achievements would have to include his support to advance the Culture of Death by pushing contraception, abortion pills for rape victims and using embryos for research.
In 2006, before he retired, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) rated Dingell as having a "pro-choice stance" with a score of 0 percent.
He died from prostate cancer on Thursday, and despite his public record, a public funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday at the Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn, Michigan.
Church Militant was contacted by a number of Catholics that are wondering why a Catholic funeral Mass is being held for him.
"Catholics cannot vote to kill unborn children," one said. "Since when do Democrats not have to follow the Fifth Commandment and then still be able to have a huge funeral Mass, full of accolades for his abominable voting record?"
This situation is not unlike Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy's funeral in 2009. Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley presided at Kennedy's funeral Mass. Catholics that were outraged over the praise for him were called divisive.
In a blog post, Cdl. O'Malley addressed the controversy by saying, "The Senator's wake and Catholic funeral were controversial because of the fact that he did not publically support Catholic teaching and advocacy on behalf of the unborn."
He continued, saying, "There is a tragic sense of lost opportunity is his lack of support for the unborn" but he disagreed, "in the strongest terms" with those who objected to Kennedy having a Catholic funeral.
"We must show those who do not share our belief about life that we care about them," he said.
"We will stop the practice of abortion by changing the law, and we will be successful in changing the law if we change people's hearts," Cdl. O'Malley said. "We will not change hearts by turning away from people in their time of need and when they are experiencing grief and loss."
In an email to LifeSiteNews, Fr. Brian Harrison disagreed with Kennedy having a Catholic funeral, saying, "It was a Mass I regard as a scandal comparable to, if not worse than, the scandal given several months ago when the nation's most prestigious 'Catholic' university bestowed an honorary doctorate upon Barack Hussein Obama, the most pro-abortion and 'pro-gay' president in U.S. history."
The Catholic Code of Canon Law actually forbids funerals for public sinners. Canon 1184 states, "Unless they gave some signs of repentance before death, the following must be deprived of ecclesiastical funerals: notorious apostates, heretics and schismatics; other manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful."
In Dingell's "My last words for America," he chose to bash Trump as a bully and grandstand about the political achievements made during his tenure — Medicare, protections for the Great Lakes and civil rights.
"I'm immensely proud, and eternally grateful, for having had the opportunity to play a part in all of these efforts during my service in Congress," he wrote.
Absent from the list of achievements is his record of blocking abortion restrictions, advancing embryonic stem cell research and his decade-long fight to get federal funding for contraception.
Many media reports are calling him "anti-abortion," citing a 30 percent rating from NARAL.
Prior to 2003, Dingell had a mixed record, voting to ban the partial-birth abortion procedure twice, but both times the law contained exceptions for the health of the mother.
He also voted to ban human cloning, and in 1999, he voted to make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to get an abortion — an issue he later reversed his stance on.
Later in his career, his support for morality waivered. Ballotpedia reported that he voted along Democratic Party lines around 90 percent of the time.
Before he retired in 2015, he voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would have banned abortions after the unborn child was developed enough to feel the pain of it being killed.
The first of Dingell's two Catholic funeral Masses will be held on Tuesday, at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn. Former Vice President Joe Biden, along with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) will be speaking.
The second funeral Mass will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. before he is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Former President Bill Clinton will be speaking there.
Church Militant reached out for comment from the archdiocese of Detroit but has not heard back by press time.