Link to NYT pieceBALTIMORE (AP) -- The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, opening a national church meeting Monday, said that continued support for abortion rights will undermine any advances in social justice that come from a new president and Congress.
Chicago Cardinal Francis George said ''we must all rejoice'' that an African-American will be in the White House for the first time in a country that ''once enshrined slavery'' in law.
But he said the nation still violates what he called universal human rights by keeping abortion legal. ''The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice,'' George said.
In his speech, George did not directly address the policies of President-elect Obama, who is Protestant, and Vice President-elect Biden, who is Roman Catholic. Both men support abortion rights and take other stands that differ from Catholic teaching.
However, in a later news conference, George, the conference president, said bishops' are preparing to lobby the Obama administration on any policies that diverge from Catholic teaching on marriage, abortion and other issues.