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Tuesday February 21, 2006


“Pro-Choice” Position is Heresy Says Oregon Catholic Bishop

Previously emphasized, “I answer to the Holy See, I don’t answer to the USCCB”

by Hilary White

BAKER Oregon, February 21, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Robert Vasa, the Catholic bishop of the Oregon diocese of Baker, has written a letter to his diocesan newspaper clearly identifying the so-called “pro-choice” position among Catholics as a “heresy”. For decades, many Catholics have argued that “primacy of conscience” allows them to dissent from basic Church teaching, including the right to life, and still consider themselves “good Catholics.”

He said he does not seek to justify “vigilante theology,” and that the word needs to be applied with care, “but we do need strong words to combat erroneous and fallacious teaching.”

“There is a very strong word, which still exists in our Church, which most of us are too ‘gentle’ to use. The word is ‘heresy.’”

To the many Catholics who publicly profess that one can be both a good Catholic and “pro-choice” on abortion, Vasa says, “The teaching of the Church in the area of life is clear and unequivocal. Human life must be respected and protected from conception to natural death. Those who maintain that any and all decisions about the disposition of pre-born human beings are exclusively the right of the mother or the parents, at least implicitly, reject the clear and consistent teaching of the Church.” This rejection, he writes, is heresy, as defined in the Church’s canon law.

Those Catholics who hold the “pro-choice” position, he writes, “reject the clear and consistent teaching of the Church.”

Vasa blows away the usual claim that asserting the right to life or the sinfulness of homosexuality is ‘intolerant.’ Jesus, the bishop writes, was “meek and humble of heart,” but not tolerant of sin. “I wonder if those who heard Jesus say, ‘Whoever leads one of these little ones astray, it would be better if he had a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea,’ nodded approval and said, ‘He is so tolerant and accepting.’”

He writes, “There is a point at which passive ‘tolerance’ allows misleading teachings to be spread and propagated, thus confusing or even misleading the faithful about the truths of the Church.”

In 2004, Vasa was cheered by faithful Catholics when he instituted a requirement for diocesan staff to publicly adhere to Catholic teaching on abortion and other major issues. He said, “A failure on my part to verify a person’s suitability for ministry would be judged as seriously negligent.”

Vasa, bishop in a state where assisted suicide is legal, was also among the few US bishops to vocally condemn the court-ordered dehydration killing of Terri Schiavo.

During the presidential election, Vasa was also among that small cadre of US bishops in agreement with then-Cardinal Ratzinger that pro-abortion politicians must be refused Holy Communion. When challenged that he was putting himself at odds with his fellow bishops, he responded, “I answer to the Holy See, I don’t answer to the USCCB (Conference of Catholic Bishops).”

Read Bishop Vasa’s complete letter:
https://sentinel.org/articles/2006-7/14481.html

To Contact Bishop Vasa:
Mailing Address: Box 5999
Bend, OR. 97708
541-388-4004
Fax 541-388-2566
Email: [email protected]


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