By Tim Waggoner

SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, April 30. 2009 ( – Bishop Joseph F. Martino of the Diocese of Scranton says he is on the verge of refusing communion to Senator Robert Casey because of his “inconsistent” voting record on life issues, but has asked Casey to assess his actions first.

Despite promises that he is “pro-life” Casey has a history of pro-abortion voting; but his most recent vote to nominate strongly pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services appears to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The diocese released a statement yesterday expressing how “deeply disappointed” the bishop is over Casey’s decision to vote with the majority in appointing Sebelius as the new health secretary.

“If necessary, future determinations will be made regarding whether Sen. Casey is worthy to receive Holy Communion,” said the press release. “However, at this point Bishop Martino believes it is incumbent upon Sen. Casey to reflect on his actions and ask himself if he should receive the sacrament.”

The diocese’s letter clearly detailed Casey’s inconsistent voting record on life issues.

On the one hand, Casey in the past voted to protect the consciences of health workers, and also voted to provide more support to pregnant women and families.

On the other hand, the senator voted earlier this to revoke the Mexico City Policy, essentially condoning US funding of foreign abortion groups, and also voted for partial-birth abortion advocate Elena Kagan as solicitor general. Bishop Martino had rebuked Casey for his vote on the Mexico City Policy, saying in a letter, “It is also imperative that there be utter clarity when it comes to the teaching of the Church on matters that pertain to the taking of innocent life and the special responsibilities that fall to you, Senator, as a lawmaker to oppose abortion and other clear evils.”

Martino’s latest warning to Casey comes as no surprise. The bishop asked Casey on two previous occasions not to support Sebelius, with one letter being faxed just days before the vote, urging Casey to “oppose strenuously” Sebelius’ appointment.

The Bishop says he intends to monitor Casey’s future “positions and votes concerning life issues,” saying it is “pastoral responsibility to instruct the Senator about these serious moral issues.”

According to the Republican Herald, Casey has defended his support of Sebelius.

“Although I disagree with her on some issues, including a number of the decisions she has made on abortion, I believe my vote in favor of her confirmation was correct,” he said.

Casey appealed to the urgent need for a new health secretary in an attempt to reinforce his position, pointing to the “possible flu pandemic” and US citizens’ need for health insurance, and said he will look to President Obama in hopes of reducing the number of abortions.

“While the Secretary of HHS will have a limited role in defining abortion policy, I look forward to working with the president to reduce the number of abortions through measures like my Pregnant Women’s Support Act legislation,” said Casey.

The Diocese of Scranton, however, views Sebeilus’ new role differently. “Now Sen. Casey has joined with his colleagues to put Gov. Sebelius in charge of building a new health care system in the United States,” says the diocese’s press release. “Her well-established pro-abortion track record provides ample evidence for the anti-life decisions she will make in this key position.”

Senator Casey was 1 of 19 Catholics to vote in favor of Sebelius.
See the list here:

See related coverage:

“Pro-Life” Casey Votes Twice to Enable US Funding for Abortion Overseas

Bishop Martino Again Rebukes Sen. Casey, Instructs Withholding of Communion from Pro-Abort Politicians


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