Pro-Obama Catholic Lawyer Resigns Board

Associated Press

October 10, 2008

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) A Catholic law professor who served on a high-profile panel formed to address the church's clergy sexual scandal has resigned from the board of a conservative Catholic university after writing a column supporting Democrat Barack Obama and declaring the abortion battle lost.

Nicholas Cafardi, former dean of the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, voluntarily offered to resign from the board of trustees at Franciscan University of Steubenville, the school said in a statement.

On Sept. 29, Religion News Service published a column by Cafardi in which he described backing Obama in spite of the candidate's pro-abortion rights position.

"While I have never swayed in my conviction that abortion is an unspeakable evil, I believe that we have lost the abortion battle permanently," Cafardi wrote.

He argued that Obama sides with the Catholic church in opposing torture and the Iraq war.

Three days later, Franciscan University released a statement distancing itself from Cafardi's views and saying that rather than a lost fight, "the tide is decidedly turning in favor of life."

In an e-mail Thursday, Cafardi said: "When it became apparent to me that some Catholics, who disagreed with my position on how to end the horror of abortion in America, were using my association with Steubenville to try to harm that great university, I thought that the best thing for me was to resign so as to prevent that harm."

Cafardi, a canon lawyer, was an original member of a board of Catholic lay people formed to address the sex abuse crisis.

Another Catholic lawyer Douglas Kmiec also has pressed Obama's case among Catholics. Several Catholic bishops, meanwhile, have corrected Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both Catholics, for statements inconsistent with church teaching.


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