By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the newly-appointed Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life Committee, has defended the Church's role in advocating for the unborn in the health care bill in his first interview since ascending to the chairmanship last month.
"If you call it lobbying, we're lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others," said Cardinal DiNardo in an interview with the Houston Chronicle last week
DiNardo assumed the chairmanship on November 19 from Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who fronted the bishops' critical rejection of the House health care bill over its expansion of abortion.
After House Speaker Pelosi unexpectedly allowed a vote to include Hyde-amendment protections in the House bill, the U.S. bishops have endured a hail of criticism from pro-abortion forces accusing them of overstepping their bounds. Several conservative lawmakers had awaited the bishops' stamp of approval on the legislation before accepting it as adequately pro-life.
The cardinal has already issued a letter to lawmakers urging similar pro-life and conscience protections for the bill in the Senate, where debate began on the measure yesterday.
DiNardo told the newspaper that Catholic leaders are morally obligated to oppose laws that contravene the Church's basic moral teachings. "Whatever the polls say, that would not determine going into the public square on those issues," he said. "For us, the role of the human person, it's a religious and a moral and ethical principle." Read more.