Is John Carr Pro-Life?

Dear Friends,

I received some inquiries recently regarding John Carr, who serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The inquiries, stemming from controversies over the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Center for Community Change, essentially asked if John is pro-life and committed to the goal of securing protection for the lives of unborn children.

Because I am in a position to answer that question, and because of the fact that hurting people’s reputations never serves our cause, let me state for the record that the answer to that question is “Yes.”

I have had many opportunities to talk to and listen to John over the years, in public and in private, to read his articles, and to discuss our common goal of seeing social justice and peace applied to our neighbors in the womb. His record is clear, and unlike some others, when he talks about justice and peace and human development, he does not fail to include the unborn.

I share with you below his own comments, as well as those of Richard Doerflinger, the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities of the US Bishops’ Conference. As we work together to resolve the problems that do exist in our Church and in our culture, let’s do so with great caution to preserve the good reputation to which all of our colleagues have a right.

Fr. Frank Pavone

From John Carr:

My experience with CCC was that it focused on poverty, housing and immigration and had no involvement in issues involving abortion and homosexuality.

When I served, the board never discussed or acted on any position involving these matters and if they had, I would have vigorously opposed any advocacy for access to abortion or gay marriage.

I have spent my personal and professional life defending human life and dignity and Catholic teaching, including current efforts to keep abortion funding out of health care reform. I regret that once again the failure to contact me or CCHD has led to unfair allegations in attempts to undermine the essential work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

From Richard Doerflinger:

The facts behind the allegations about John Carr are simple enough: He was once on the board of an anti-poverty organization that did good work for providing food and housing and promoting rights for immigrants; long after he left the board, the group got into advocacy for abortion and gay rights agendas(which he would have strongly opposed if he had still been on the board). To turn this into a charge against John Carr is ridiculous.

But that is to understate the matter. I have worked with John on health care and abortion issues for two decades at the Catholic bishops’ conference. He has staunchly defended and promoted the Church’s teaching on the right to life of the unborn throughout this time — and often in secular liberal forums where it makes him many enemies and loses him many friends. His dedicated work on the health care reform issue is a major reason why the bishops’ advocacy for the pro-life amendment to the House health care bill was so successful.

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