Group: Deny communion to senator for her views

Anti-abortionists include Murkowski in list of Catholic public figures who support abortion

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2004

FAIRBANKS - An anti-abortion group has included U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a list of pro-abortion Catholic politicians and is calling on the church to withhold Holy Communion from her and the others on the "deadly dozen" list.

The politicians are featured in an advertisement by the American Life League, which says the elected officials cannot claim to be Catholic and support abortion rights at the same time.

The ad features snapshots of the 12 under a banner that says "Wanted for Fraudulently Claiming Catholic Faith." Below each name is the telephone number of the politician's Catholic dioceses.

Murkowski is one of four Republicans on the list, which includes California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. The list also includes Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and five other Democratic senators.

"We call on all bishops and priests to respectfully refuse Holy Communion to these and all public figures whose unrepentant support for the killing of babies in the womb defiles the Body of Christ," the ad reads.

Joe Giganti, spokesman for the American Life League, said the ad has been placed in The Wanderer, a weekly Catholic newspaper, The Washington Times and its weekly edition, and Human Events, a weekly conservative newspaper.

Murkowski spokeswoman Kristin Pugh said Murkowski is personally against abortion, but recognizes its legality. Murkowski believes in abortion restrictions, such as partial-birth abortion, Pugh said.

Murkowski and Archdiocese of Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz recently discussed the ad, and "they both strongly disagree with its premise," Pugh said.

Rev. Donald Bramble, vicar general of the archdiocese, confirmed Schwietz and Murkowski met privately. He said Schwietz, who was in Florida on Thursday, believes Murkowski has considered the issue very carefully.

"We might disagree with her on the particulars, but we see that she's seeking a nuanced approach and we appreciate that," Bramble said.

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