A Kentucky Catholic bishop argued that the Covington Catholic high school students at the center of a recent viral controversy after their confrontation with a Native American activist sparked outrage cannot be “pro-life” while supporting a president “who denigrates the lives of immigrants.”
Lexington Bishop John Stowe wrote in an op-ed this week that as the leader of the Catholic Church in the 50 counties of Central and Eastern Kentucky he joins “the Diocese of Covington and other Catholic leaders in apologizing” for the actions of the group of Catholic students over the viral confrontation following their involvement with the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“I am ashamed that the actions of Kentucky Catholic high school students have become a contradiction of the very reverence for human life that the march is supposed to manifest,” he continued. “As such, 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.”
Stowe went on to say, without trying to place “blame entirely on these adolescents” involved in the viral controversy, that he was astonished to see that “any students participating in a pro-life activity on behalf of their school and their Catholic faith could be wearing apparel sporting the slogans of a president who denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees and people from countries that he describes with indecent words and haphazardly endangers with life-threatening policies.”
“We cannot uncritically ally ourselves with someone with whom we share the policy goal of ending abortion,” he continued. “I doubt that it is only these students who are not aware that the pro-life movement got its start among peace activists who saw their opposition to abortion as a natural extension of opposition to all forms of violence.”
“The pro-life movement claims that it wants more than the policy change of making abortion illegal, but aims to make it unthinkable,” Stowe added. “That would require deep changes in society and policies that would support those who find it difficult to afford children. The association of our young people with racist acts and a politics of hate must also become unthinkable.”
Stowe’s comments come a week after a short clip of the confrontation that went viral last weekend showed a group of teenagers, many of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, laughing and yelling while standing around activist Nathan Phillips.
The brief footage sparked backlash from many on social media who felt the teens were taunting the Native American activist.
Longer footage of the confrontation that later surfaced on Sunday had some shifting blame over the ordeal to a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, who appeared instigate the confrontation.