Op-Ed

Lexington bishop has nothing to apologize for. Critics missed the point of his column.

Dozens of teens criticized over treatment of Native American veteran at Lincoln Memorial

Covington-Catholic students were criticized over the treatment a Native American elder received when he tried to walk through the group. Nick Sandmann said he -- and his classmates -- were not mocking the man or blocking his path.
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Covington-Catholic students were criticized over the treatment a Native American elder received when he tried to walk through the group. Nick Sandmann said he -- and his classmates -- were not mocking the man or blocking his path.

Right to Life of Central Kentucky has called on His Excellency, The Most Reverend John Stowe, Bishop of Lexington, to apologize for his remarks about the incident between students at the March for Life and a Native American elder.

He has nothing to apologize for.

They charge that His Excellency criticized the students for wearing Make America Great hats and that he put down young people on a pilgrimage to end abortion without commenting about the attack the students endured. I don’t believe that they actually read Bishop Stowe’s op-ed letter that was published in the Lexington Herald Leader.

They seem to think that he was criticizing the students because they were wearing hats with the slogan of a president who has proclaimed himself as pro-life. They say that the student and his peers “smiled in the face of his aggressor, while being taunted by racist, vial (sic) and vicious verbal assaults.”

Bishop Stowe says that he would not discuss the context or place blame on anyone involved. He did, however, point out that the hats the students were wearing and their actions in the incident contradict reverence for human life. RTL says that the MAGA hats were worn by the students in gratitude to a president who has taken a pro-life stand.

Bishop Stowe disagrees. He says the president does not have a pro-life stand because he uses indecent words to denigrate immigrants and refugees. He also endangers them with life-threatening policies.

“Respect for the sanctity of human life included the promotion of all that is necessary for all humanity to flourish. While the church’s opposition to abortion has been steadfast, it has become a stand-alone issue for many and has become disconnected to other issues of human dignity.”

He goes on to say that “we cannot uncritically ally ourselves with someone with whom we share the policy goal of ending abortion.”

The emphasis is my own. This is the real issue that Right to Life of Central Kentucky has with Bishop Stowe. He has called out their blindness about the fact that to be pro-life means much more than making abortion unthinkable.

“I believe that U.S. Catholics must take a look at how our support of the fundamental right to life has become separated from the even more basic truth of the dignity of each human person,” he writes.

And this is why the RTL writers say that they are growing restless – because they are uncomfortable with the cognitive dissonance that his letter provokes.

Jacqueline Shukla has a master’s degree in pastoral studies from the Lexington Theological Seminary and is active in the Diocese of Lexington.

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