WASHINGTON, June 17, 2003 ( – This week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for their semi-annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo. While the bishops have taken swift action in the recent sex-abuse scandals by appointing a National Review Board, many Catholics are left wondering when, in light of the Vatican’s January 16, 2003 directive, substantive action will be taken to deal with Catholic politicians who openly support abortion.  “On January 16 of this year, Rome spoke clearly and unequivocally: You cannot be pro-abortion and Catholic.  It’s the responsibility of each bishop to enforce the Church’s teaching on this matter,” said Judie Brown, president of American Life League.  Known officially as the “DOCTRINAL NOTE: The Participation of Catholics in Political Life,” the Vatican document reiterated the Catholic Church’s teaching on the absolute incompatibility between a public stance supporting abortion and membership in the Catholic Church.  “Like any institution, the Catholic Church has certain core beliefs and principles that provide the Church’s foundation.  The sanctity of human life is one of those binding beliefs, and if one cannot accept this fundamental belief, then he or she cannot claim to be a Catholic,” said Brown.  Recently, two American bishops confronted public officials in their dioceses regarding their unrepentant support of abortion-on-demand. Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento, Calif. told Gov. Gray Davis he should stop receiving Holy Communion until he recanted his public support for decriminalized abortion. As well, Bishop Robert Carlson of Sioux Falls, S.D. was reported to have told Sen. Tom Daschle to stop publicly claiming to be a Catholic until he, too, recanted his support of abortion.  “These bishops are noble examples of pastors doing their true duty.  It would be great to see these men receive more encouragement and support-public or otherwise-from their fellow bishops,” said Joseph M. Starrs, director of the Crusade.  Starrs pointed out that in view of the seriousness of the situation, “we would strongly support the bishops’creation of a comprehensive plan for dealing with public officials who are unwilling to renounce their public pro-abortion stance.  Furthermore, the bishops need to know that the laity appreciates bishops who courageously proclaim the truth about the intrinsic moral evil of abortion.  We eagerly await the national bishops conference’s leadership on this matter of critical moral concern.”  The scandal of Catholic politicians not being called to account for supporting abortion has been an especially widespread and chronic problem in Canada for almost four decades. Canadian Catholic politicians have played leading roles, nationally and internationally, in engineering social changes destructive of marriage, family life and respect for human life. They have not yet been subjected to effective censure of their actions by Canadian bishops and even the most notorious, such as Prime Minister Jean Chretien, continue to attend Catholic services and receive the sacraments.