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Cincinnati archbishop urges Catholics to reject state abortion amendment in November

August 14, 2023 Catholic News Agency 2
A sonogram picture of a fetus in the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 14, 2023 / 11:04 am (CNA).

Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr on Saturday urged Catholics in the state of Ohio to reject a November ballot measure that would enshrine abortion rights under the state’s constitution.

The prelate said in a letter posted to the archdiocesan website that the proposed amendment, titled the “Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety,” would legalize the right to “take the lives of innocent children in the womb while harming women and families in the process.”

The amendment, if passed, would dictate that Ohio “shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against” a woman’s attempt to get an abortion.

State law currently prohibits abortion after the point at which an unborn child’s heartbeat is detected, generally around six weeks of pregnancy.  

Under the amendment, lawmakers could prohibit abortion “after fetal viability,” or when a child could survive outside its mother’s uterus, generally at around 24 weeks of pregnancy. The state would be prohibited from doing so, however, in cases where a doctor determined that an abortion was necessary to protect the mother’s “life or health.”

Schnurr in his letter said the proposal is an “extraordinary and dangerous attempt to radically reshape Ohio through a constitutional amendment that does nothing to aid women or promote life.”

“As Catholics, we are morally obliged to uphold the dignity of life of all vulnerable humans — immigrants, the poor, preborn children,” Schnurr wrote. “We cannot remain silent on a direct ballot question like the one in November.”

The archbishop urged Catholics to pray for the amendment’s defeat, to raise awareness of the measure, and to vote against the initiative in the Nov. 7 general election.

“Beyond that, we must continue our commitment to caring for women, children, and families,” Schnurr said, calling also on the intercessions of St. Mary and St. Joseph for the state of Ohio.

The campaign to include the abortion measure on the November ballot was led by the pro-abortion group Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom. The group said last month it was aiming to counteract what it called “draconian reproductive health care policies imposed by extremists.”

Ohioans earlier this month rejected a proposed rules change that, had it been passed, would have made it more difficult to adopt constitutional amendments via citizen-proposed ballot measures. The proposal was voted down by a margin of 57-43%. 

The August measure would have dictated that amendments like the abortion measure secure 60% of the vote to pass. With that proposal’s failure, the abortion amendment will only need the votes of a simple majority of Ohio voters to pass it. 

The August measure was criticized by pro-abortion activists who said the initiative was an effort by conservative and pro-life Ohioans to scuttle the abortion amendment in November. President Joe Biden called the August proposal an “attempt to weaken voters’ voices” and “erode the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions.”

A USA Today poll from July showed nearly 60% of Ohio voters supporting the November abortion amendment.



People, Look East!

February 11, 2023 Peter M.J. Stravinskas 32

It seems a bit of a firestorm has erupted and is spreading of late, whereby some bishops have forbidden their priests to offer Holy Mass “Ad Orientem,” that is, facing liturgical (east or the tabernacle), […]

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Cincinnati archbishop: I would not have approved Biden’s visit to Catholic university

July 20, 2021 Catholic News Agency 3
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr celebrates Mass at the tomb of St. Peter along with other bishops from the United States’ Region VI during their ad limina visit to the Holy See. / David Kerr/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2021 / 17:01 pm (CNA).

The Archbishop of Cincinnati on Tuesday said he was not informed of President Biden’s upcoming visit to a Catholic university in his archdiocese. He did not approve the university hosting the event.

On Wednesday, July 21, President Joe Biden will appear at a townhall event broadcast by CNN and hosted by Mount Saint Joseph University in Cincinnati. The university is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

News of the event’s location was reported on Tuesday. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr then issued a statement saying that he “has not been contacted by any involved party” regarding Biden’s appearance at the university.

“Archbishop Schnurr has therefore not been asked for, nor would he have granted, his approval for any such event to occur on Catholic premises,” the archdiocese stated.

The archdiocese did not immediately respond to CNA’s request for clarification as to why Archbishop Schnurr would have refused approval of the event. Mount Saint Joseph University did not immediately respond to a request for comment by CNA on Tuesday afternoon.

Regarding the July 21 townhall, reported that CNN anchor Don Lemon will moderate the one-hour event, which will cover “a wide range of issues facing the nation ranging from Covid-19 to the economy.”

President Biden is the second Catholic president in U.S. history. While the U.S. bishops’ conference has praised some of his administration’s policies on immigration and fighting poverty, conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles stated in January his concern about Biden’s policies on abortion, gender issues, and religious freedom.

“I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” Gomez stated.  “Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”

In January, Biden stated his support for Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, on the 48th anniversary of the ruling.

Biden’s budget request for the 2022 fiscal year included taxpayer-funded abortion by excluding the Hyde Amendment. The amendment has been federal policy since 1976, and prohibits federal funding of abortions in Medicaid. Biden once supported the policy as a U.S. senator, but reversed his support in 2019 as a presidential candidate.

He also supports the Equality Act, legislation which recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in federal law; the U.S. bishops’ conference has opposed the legislation, saying it would codify transgender ideology in law and would “punish” religious groups that object to the LGBT agenda.

Biden’s administration is also seeking to reinstate the “transgender mandate,” policy which would force doctors and insurance companies to perform or cover gender-transitioning procedures upon the referral from a mental health professional.

The Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).