NewsThu Nov 13, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
UK Catholic Bishop: “I have been thrilled by Barack Obama’s victory and I thank God for it.”
By Hilary White
PORTSMOUTH, England, November 13, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A British Catholic bishop has issued a statement enthusiastically welcoming the man who has been labelled the “most pro-abortion US president in history”– president-elect Barack Obama. Bishop Crispian Hollis of the Portsmouth diocese in southern England has said he is “thrilled” at the election of Obama.
The bishop’s message, posted on the website of the Portsmouth diocese, says, “With millions of others, I have been thrilled by Barack Obama’s victory and I thank God for it. For me, it represents a rare moment of hope and optimism which shows American democracy at its best and it is of seismic significance and potential for the whole global community. And so, more than ever now, he deserves and needs us to keep him in our prayers.”
This ardent welcome from Hollis, known in Britain to be on the extreme left of the Catholic Church, is in sharp contrast to a letter issued yesterday by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which they warned Obama that “aggressive pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.”
John Smeaton, the director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) responded to the message of Bishop Hollis, saying, “I am increasingly concerned by the numbers of people who have endorsed Mr. Obama. I suspect many of them are caught up in an unthinking Obamania.”
Smeaton asks if Bishop Hollis has forgotten that “the unborn are part of the whole global community?”
Barack Obama, even before being sworn into office, has already begun to “review” many of the pro-life and pro-family policies put in place by the Bush administration, including the prohibition on federal funding for embryonic research. More significantly, Obama has vowed to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that in one stroke would undo thirty years of incremental gains by the pro-life movement by removing all legal restrictions on abortion in America.
“The only ‘potential’ for the unborn under an Obama presidency,” Smeaton said, “will be that more of them will be killed. What ‘hope and optimism’ can Catholic medics have following Obama’s election, who will abolish conscientious objection to abortion, thereby threatening to destroy Catholic healthcare in the US?”
Smeaton said he will be writing to Bishop Hollis, asking him to answer these questions.
Hollis is well known in Britain as the representative of the extreme left of the Church hierarchy. Last year, when Hollis issued a statement in support of a call for legal brothels, he was denounced by prominent anti-trafficking campaigners who said he was encouraging an industry that legitimizes prostitution and “completely victimizes” women.
Catholic Herald editor Damian Thompson, writing on his blog at the Daily Telegraph website, said that Hollis’ statement of support for Obama is the most “biased statement by any Catholic bishop on the subject” and that it has damaged the reputation of the Church.
“It reinforces the growing impression that Portsmouth, along with other ‘radical’ south coast dioceses, is now independent of Rome, pursuing policies at odds with the Magisterium and the rulings of the Pope,” Thompson wrote.
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To contact the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops:
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
To contact Bishop Crispian Hollis,
Phone: (0)23 9282 0894
Fax: (0)23 9286 3086
To send an online message: