The bishop of Lexington lambasted the Covington Catholic High School students barraged by false accusations of bigotry, saying they betrayed the Pro-Life cause by wearing MAGA hats.
Bishop John Stowe said he was “ashamed” of the actions of the Covington boys during their confrontation with Native American Nathan Phillips and claimed that their appearance and behavior contradicted reverence for human life. Stowe did not concede that they were innocent of Phillips’ claims of bigotry, despite ample evidence proving that the boys did not act as racist aggressors, but criticized them instead for wearing MAGA hats.
“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,” Stowe wrote.
“Without engaging the discussion about the context of the viral video or placing the blame entirely on these adolescents, it astonishes me 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,” he added.
Stowe was the third bishop to condemn the boys, as the dioceses of Covington and Louisville also denounced them shortly after a brief excerpt of hours of footage of the incident went viral on social media. The dioceses failed to reach out to the boys or wait for the full story to emerge before shaming them, as did scores of social media users, public officials, and members of the media in what Bishop Robert Barron called a “literally Satanic” response to the incident.
Stowe also claimed that supporting President Donald Trump amounts to a “politics of hate” and, despite his claim that he would steer clear of discussing the confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial, criticized the school boys for their association with “racist acts.”
“The pro-life movement claims that it wants more than the policy change of making abortion illegal, but aims to make it unthinkable. 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 concluded.
The bishop’s choice to publicly scold the Covington boys for supposedly contradicting Pro-Life values seems strange, given Stowe’s silence about New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic who recently approved legislation that codified abortion as a woman’s right. While Catholic bishops released a letter mourning the legislation, they have not responded to calls from Catholic lay leaders for Cuomo’s excommunication for his overt violation of the Church’s teaching.
Stowe’s piece drew ardent criticism not only for his claim that wearing a MAGA hat amounted to a betrayal of the March for Life, but also for going after school children.
— National Review (@NRO) January 25, 2019
Father Beck and Bishop Stowe must be amazing confessors. They know your sins by your headwear.
Something tells me if this was a DACA protest their reactions would be different https://t.co/tCp3pKZpZS
— F. Bill McMorris (@FBillMcMorris) January 24, 2019
— Matthew Schmitz (@matthewschmitz) January 24, 2019
— Jack Fowler (@jackfowler) January 25, 2019
“The bishop was right about one thing: He does owe an apology; actually, several of them,” wrote National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru.
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