A Roman Catholic bishop in Indiana will shun a pro-life banquet if Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele addresses the sold-out event, The Washington Times has learned.
The other honoree at the April 16 Vanderburgh County Right to Life (VCRL) banquet is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and the snub by Bishop Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger of Evansville over Mr. Steele could embarrass Mrs. Palin, a hero to pro-lifers, and reverberate throughout the movement.
By Ralph Hallow
The Washington Times
“At this point, the bishop’s intention is not to attend the dinner he would normally attend,” Paul Leingang, communications director for the diocese and editor of its weekly newspaper, the Message, said. “The bishop has had a conversation with Mr. Steele and has informed [VCRL Executive Director Mary Ellen] Van Dyke that his early decision not to attend still stands.”
Mrs. Palin, an evangelical, is twinned with Mr. Steele, a Roman Catholic, as the featured attractions at the banquet, billed as the biggest such event in the nation and expected to attract more than 4,500 people.
Nor will Bishop Gettelfinger be the only prominent area pro-lifer to shun the banquet over Mr. Steele. Evansville Catholic Charities Director Jim Collins also plans to boycott the gathering, saying he was “shocked” by Mr. Steele’s answers on abortion during a recent interview.
In an interview with GQ, published in the latest issue of the magazine, the reporter asked, “Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?” According to GQ, Mr. Steele said, “Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.” The reporter then said, “You do?” and Mr. Steele said, “Yeah. Absolutely.”