History & Culture / Politics

As McAuliffe Evangelizes for Abortion and Catholic Bishops Are Silent What Will History (And God) Say?

AMAC Exclusive – by David P. Deavel


The first step is the hardest. The proverb may well be correct, but sometimes the difficulty of that first step causes the walker to shy away from doing it again. After complaints (including one in this space) earlier this summer about the scandal of former governor and current gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s continued radicalism in favor of abortion without restrictions, funding of Planned Parenthood, opposition to religious liberty, and support of radical attempts to keep serious Catholics and other Christians from being able to hold high office without even a peep from Virginia’s two Catholic bishops, they did speak out through Virginia Catholic Conference executive director Jeff Caruso in comments to the Washington Free Beacon. It was a good first step, as we noted earlier, but it was not nearly enough and in the nearly two months since it has not been followed by any further action even as McAuliffe becomes more brazen in his campaigning. This is both an outcome of a pattern of behavior taken by many American bishops over many decades and yet another instance of it that will discourage other bishops from action.

It was not nearly enough. First of all, it is perfectly fine to make statements through the director of the Virginia Catholic Conference. These organizations serve the Catholic bishops of a given region in advancing their public policy positions and views. But, first, Caruso’s statements were restricted to McAuliffe’s promise to repeal Virginia’s conscience clause. Nothing was said about his unbroken radical extremism concerning abortion restrictions that has continued into this race—or any of the other positions he has taken that affect the Catholic witness and ministry in the Commonwealth.

Second, nothing has been put on the Virginia Catholic Conference website about these comments to one newspaper. In fact, a search of that website indicates that there has been nothing said about McAuliffe since 2017. Searches of the separate websites for Richmond and Arlington dioceses give the same result. Ditto for the diocesan newspapers. A search of the Richmond diocese’s Catholic Virginian brings up no matches for “McAuliffe.”

If the rebuke of McAuliffe’s threat to strip conscience rights in the state were important enough to make in the first place, shouldn’t the bishops want people to know about it?

No follow through. Not only have the bishops not made any attempt to inform their own flocks of that first rebuke, they have said nothing since about him. Let that earlier paragraph sink in. The self-described “very strong Catholic” Terry McAuliffe’s campaign promises to stop Catholics as individuals and corporately from acting on their consciences have been met with one statement that is not even available on any official Catholic websites in the two Catholic dioceses. Nor has there been any statement or even mention of McAuliffe’s campaign threats, er, promises, since then on the issues even as McAuliffe continues his campaign for abortion, which is called in the Catechism of the Catholic Church an “abominable crime” that is “gravely contrary to the moral law.”

McAuliffe has indeed not only made abortion his issue, trying to paint his opponent, Glenn Youngkin, an extremist who would bring Texas’s heartbeat bill to Virginia (Youngkin says he wouldn’t support such a bill but would support a 20-week ban), but has become even more publicly radicalized in his limitless support for it.

McAuliffe recently told reporters outside an abortion clinic in Charlottesville, “Everyone needs to know that abortion is on the ballot here in Virginia.” Not only is it on the ballot, it is on the ballot as a kind of ultimate issue. He responded to a question, in a WVTF Radio interview on September 7, about whether he supports any limitations on abortion by repeating a phrase he has used for years. He would be a “brick wall” when it comes to any legislation that might stop, slow, or even give pause to a woman considering an abortion. Given that the context of the question was a bill proposed in Virginia by Democratic delegate Kathy Tran in 2019 that would have eased the limits on third-trimester abortions and, per Tran’s own admission, allowed them up until birth, this is truly radical stuff.  In follow-up at a press conference on September 7, he told National Review that what he really wants in a new term as governor in this sphere is “a bill sent to me that would enshrine Roe v Wade in the [Virginia] constitution.” In other words, he will concede no possible limits on this abominable crime and indeed wants its legality permanently enshrined in law.

McAuliffe doesn’t even pretend, as did pro-abortion Catholic politicians of old from 1970s Jesuit priest and Democratic congressman Robert Drinan and 1980s New York governor and presidential hopeful Mario Cuomo on down, that he is “personally opposed.” In fact, he recently bragged about that gruesome decision to make a glad-handing and smile-laden campaign stop at the abortion clinic in Charlottesville.

Yet bishops Michael Burbidge of Arlington and Barry Nestout of Richmond still say nothing about any of this.

Catholics of a certain age are unfortunately used to this pattern of behavior. Too many bishops have been, like old Bob Drinan and Mario Cuomo, personally deeply opposed to abortion but reluctant to speak out in the public sphere about it. Sure, they’ll appear on Roe v. Wade day at a rally and declare what the Church teaches. Absolutely, but when it comes to specific politicians, members of their own flock for whom they have a responsibility, they do not want to rock the boat too much or appear to be partisan. They will speak to the politicians in private about this matter and work it out. Handshakes over chicken dinners and some photo-ops will work everything out.

Except that nothing much happens. The politicians keep publicly supporting abortion and appearing as “very strong” or “devout” Catholics. They keep outwardly supporting abortion and opposing the rights of conscience. And eventually, as with McAuliffe, the mask of “personally opposed” falls. It’s not that abortion is something they reluctantly include in a list of other good positions, but it is the issue in which the campaign lives and moves and has its being.

Abortion is on the ballot in Virginia!

It’s not just Virginia. Joe Biden, who was supposedly reluctant and personally opposed when that was what was called for, has become just as radical as Terry McAuliffe. One of his first statements as President was on Roe v. Wade day and called for “codifying” that horrendous ruling and “appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe.” And most recently, he has now reversed his earlier statements (or finally revealed a long-standing position) about that “personal” belief. “I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception,” Biden told reporters on September 3. “I don’t agree, but I respect that. I’m not going to impose that on people.”

And yet Biden’s own bishop, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, only responded to that statement in a press conference the next week because somebody from the audience asked him to clarify. When he did, he gently noted that Biden was “not demonstrating” Catholic teaching.

Strange, I think Biden was actually repudiating it.

How different was Cardinal Gregory’s response to a different presidential action in June 2020. Repeating the false claims about President Trump’s having ordered tear gas at a Washington, D.C., Episcopal Church merely to make room for a photo-op, he condemned the then-President’s subsequent visit to the St. John Paul II National Shrine in no uncertain terms: “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.”

If a Church violates Catholic religious principles by allowing visits by a politician not defending the rights of all people, then it might behoove Cardinal Gregory to examine more closely not only Joe Biden’s lack of “demonstration” of Catholic teaching, but his official documents declaring an intention to “codify” the Supreme Court decision that declares the unborn have no rights.         

I have no confidence that Cardinal Gregory will do so. Nor will he consider any of the Biden administration’s other attacks on religious freedom and practice. Nor will a great many of the other bishops. They will continue to try to smooth along the inherent contradictions involved in Catholic politicians who deny Catholic moral teaching on the most important issues of our day yet are never challenged publicly by the shepherds of the Church.

Why not speak out? Perhaps they don’t want to buy trouble—after all, perhaps the governor or the president will not hit us too hard if we don’t make noise?

But they have been and are buying trouble in two ways. One of the ur-dictums of English common law is that silence implies consent. Politicians who never hear public criticism may infer that the bishops really consent to what they are doing. These politicians will never fear going too far since they are already there.

Even more important, such silence is a true scandal. Not just in the common sense of being something naughty at which people titter, but in the older sense of a stumbling block to faith. Do the bishops really consent to what Terry McAuliffe, Joe Biden, and hundreds of other politicians are doing and promising to do with regard to abortion, religious liberty, conscience protections, or a dozen other issues? Do they really care about truth? Catholics and others who look to the bishops for spiritual and moral strength will ignore the bishops more and more if they keep adhering more to go-along-to-get-along than the biblical, “We must obey God rather than men.”

It’s a problem of long standing, and there is no easy solution. In the case of bishops Burbidge and Nestout, they have taken one commendable step. But without taking more, they will not avoid this encouragement of bad political behavior, scandal for those in the pews, and shame for themselves.

David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and a visiting professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He is the co-host of the Deep Down Things podcast.


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26 days ago

God is watching. We all will be hurt by this man. How can a person look him self in the mirror. God Sam him

William Schuck
29 days ago

Agree with, Dr. Ed.,
Rome’s gospel is dead.

Worship of Peter and Mary,
The Biblical gospel contrary!

This factual claim they hate,
Falsely claim they “only” venerate!

There is much more than simple respect,
When to these idols they genuflect!

When to the apostles, one did cower,
Then rebuked, “Arise and worship the Almighty in power!

To worship the weak, Mary or Peter,
Instead of God, adoring the creature.

Peter and Mary – sinners like you and I,
To pray to them for help is pie-in-the-sky.

Though they may scream,
And to others it may seem.

Rome, did not repent,
Of, The Council of Trent!


No fear in death, His death is sufficient,
Adding to Christ, your faith is deficient!

Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone,
Eternal, constant torment, if not trusting The Son!

Since Christ, was God, infinite in person.
Punishment in hell, infinite is the curse on.

”So for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome,
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who
believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,”
ROMANS 1:15,16

Beth SloanSills
29 days ago

That’s the biggest problem, tons of people love/want The America pre-biden, and people post stuff, speak with friends and family BUT our Leaders on the right to make/take a stand NOW or we will lose it all. Let’s love babies and children; take care of them help them grow up and stand up for Truth and Right! Don’t kill the children. Take responsibility for the actions and decisions you make. If you don’t want children take birth control, refrain from sex, or give the child up for adoption. I have a dozen more friends who would do anything to have a baby!

1 month ago

A Nation that doesn’t respect God is a Nation without God. Don’t wait on human authority to do what you know is right. God is always right.

1 month ago

I am sure that you are aware that any clergy may NOT espouse against a particular political person. However, I do believe that many have taken umbrage against ALL pro-abortion advocates as groups. It is time for ALL true Catholics and other Christians to STAND up and SPEAK OUT for our beliefs. Shaming the clergy for not doing so, on a daily basis, is a cop-out.
Abortion, at any stage is murder – it is stopping a beating heart or a potential beating heart. “THOU SHALL NOT KILL”!!!!

1 month ago

God has spoken, He hates the shedding of innocent blood.

Philip Hammersley
1 month ago

Most denominations have some form of discipline for rogue members. The Catholic hierarchy has long allowed their members to abandon church beliefs and still be allowed communion. Teddy (the Fish) Kennedy comes to mind. And the LDS did nothing to discipline Dingey Harry Reid, both for his positions and his blatant lies about Mitt Romney
If these reprobates are bragging about being “good (fill in the blank)” they should go by the BOOK!

1 month ago

While you are correct, Catholic clergy are finally beginning to refuse our Lord’s body and blood to those who “claim” to be of [xxxxx] religion, but do not follow the dogma or tenets of the Church.
Let us simply pray that it continues to be so AND do our part in condemning the frauds.

Ralph S
1 month ago

I’ve always planned to live forever because I believed in the axiom that the Devil didn’t want any competition… however, with the likes of those politicians and other leftists that are obviously heading for the Netherworld, I don’t want to spend eternity with the likes of Biden, Pelosi, Obama, Clinton, McAuliffe, et.al.

1 month ago

As a practicing Catholic, I would encourage you to listen to Church Militant. Michael Voris. They do a great job of explaining why the church does what it does and they hold the right people accountable. They “name names” in other words.

Net. There are several powerful bishops in the northeast and Chicago that are ultra liberal and don’t hold to the catechesis of the Catholic church. Unfortunately Pope Francis seams complicit.

For Catholics and non-Catholics, if you want to know what the Catholic church teaches and how we interpret the bible, please refer to the catechesis of the church. Most priests and bishops uphold these teachings. Unfortunately, some do not. Similar to most large organizations, media outlets and politics, progressives and Marxists have infiltrated the church.

Please pray for all the above to change.

1 month ago

Can’t understand why the Catholic church does not publicly call out biden,pelosi and the others who pretend yet support EVERYTHING the church and it’s teachings reject.
Unbelievable hypocrisy, but judgement day will come for them!

Dr. Ed
1 month ago

Just as it’s been true since there’s been such things, institutions with an authoritarian hierarchy have been preoccupied with amassing wealth with which to exercise power and influence that, in turn, makes it easier to amass additional wealth and power, and so on and so forth. The Catholic Church has, almost since its institutionalization, been willing to cast a blind eye to nearly any form of behavior in apparent violation of its own doctrine in order to enrich itself and protect itself from displays of independence and/or rebellion by its congregants. After all, if the Church was, as it has claimed for 2,000 years, obligated to obey its own principles, there would be no grandiose cathedrals, no Vatican, with clergy poor and in rough clothes, not bedecked in extravagant silks, satins, precious metals and gems in “houses of worship” filled with idols and dazzling displays of wealth. It’s about intimidating the ignorant, playing the after-life drama to the hilt, instilling fear of lost souls if disobedient, and preserving the control and privilege the Church’s establishmentarians have enjoyed for millennia. The political aspects of the Church’s behavior are not new, but they don’t ordinarily get the scrutiny nor criticism they might invite were it not for the aura of “holiness.” The examples of such Church machinations, self-interest above all else, and corruption, are too numerous to recount here.

1 month ago

it does not surprise me that McAuliffe & bishops are both for sacrificing, killing & making profit of children, all have been doing it forever.satanic communism has taken over this forsaken state of Virginia. God help us all.

Donald L Schmidt
1 month ago

Why does this support of abortion not surprise me as far as the killary Clinton fundraiser McAuliffe? The Catholic Bishops should be ashamed.

1 month ago

It’s unbelievable to me to see people fight so hard to protect a sin so wicked and reprehensible in the eyes of God as abortion. The murder and butchery of innocent bablies means nothing to them and I believe they don’t lose one second sleep over it. It shows that their hearts have been hardened by satan and tells me what the demo/globalist party is made of. Evil, satanic, Godless people.

1 month ago
Reply to  CoNMTX

God will be their Judge in the end.

1 month ago

History SEEMS TO SHOW that for some reason Pro-Communist thinking People are lible to NEVER BE ABORTED! . . . ? ? ?

Cindy Cunniffe
1 month ago

The bible teaches us that we will know a person by their fruits. You can be pro choice or Christian but you can’t be both. Where are the God fearing Catholics? Why are they not demanding accountability in their leadership?

1 month ago
Reply to  Cindy Cunniffe

Well, we certainly know the demos by their fruits. They are quite public and proud about their evil. Pure satanic.

1 month ago
Reply to  Cindy Cunniffe

Many catholics believe they are saved by baptism. The only salvation is through belief in Christ’s death on the cross as atonement for sin. That’s why a lot of them figure no matter what they do, they’re already saved.

Patriot Will
1 month ago

The Catholic Church should be an institution above politics, both figuratively and literally. It should not be the job of the bishops to make themselves “hip,” even if many Christians have lost their way. The Catholic Church needs to be a guiding light, an institution which encourages high standards of moral excellence and solid respect for human life. The unborn child needs to be protected, not used as a cheap political pawn.

1 month ago

The Catholic church should condemn abortion publicly ! They don’t because they value their position more than God’s teaching. Cowards in the first degree…. And of course the pope is a true blue Socialist tyrant.
America is now a country of “Sheeple” with no moral leadership.

1 month ago
Reply to  DJames

Many in the Catholic Church still believe the pope is holy and therefore above sin. Many in nations like those in Mexico, S. America, C. America, and here in the southern U.S. , are afraid to believe he is a Godless socialist and is working against religion and freedom. Man of these people are uneducated and superstitious. This is why they are easy to control. They believe God will punish them for even thinking anything negative about the pope. Through the centuries, the priests have used this as a tool against them to keep them under the thumb of the church.

1 month ago
Reply to  CoNMTX

these people who call themselves Catholic today do not know what it means to be Catholic. they are not taught their religion. they seem to be more protestants , they do not see the Holy Eucharist as HIS BODY, and many priest who are proclaiming HIS TRUTH are being silence by bishop who are judases to the one world government. as for frankie who was elected by the masons and the gays after they imprisoned Benedict, he is not the pope and may not being a Catholic or any Christian for he is a castro commie from South America. if you look at the history of the Church, the Pope is only sinless regarding the WORD OF GOD. many people, in the past, have confronted pope who say that Jesus as not the SON OF GOD like Arius who was pope at the time. and what happen to him when he was advocating false teaching. He blow up in the center of town in Italy when his colon erupted from cancer. and his shit when all over. GOD has a way of dealing with people who think they are gods like the demon rats or they can change his words like many of the german and american bishops has been trying. frankie will blow up one day and these judases will be confronted with their evil ways before they die and we will see what happens to them.

1 month ago

My comment was not against the catholic people it’s the people in the church it self that rape nuns and when the nuns get pregnant they have the nuns get abortions . Everyone of any faith will answer to God

1 month ago

I find it appalling that the Catholic Church, should I say, all Christian clergy should stand up for what Jesus Christ teaches in the Bible. WE all, clergy and parishioner should walk the narrow road to the high ground and say and do the right thing as Christians. All leaders in this country have an obligation to speak out when things are not done according to are faith and moral connections. We are all accountable to God for what we do here on earth and will be called to account for actions or lack of actions. What the Democratic Socialist are doing to this country is criminal. If we do not speak up, we will be just as guilty. Abortion is wrong no matter what the reason. I can understand if the mother’s life is in dander. God knew us in our mother’s womb. Abortion is nothing but murder. I believe we have to face the consequences for that act of savagery against a child.

1 month ago
Reply to  Robert

Robert, Well stated. It is disgusting that Catholic clergy are cowards and hypocrites. They will stand a harder judgement for it. So will the Socialist pope !

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