On June 14, the archdiocesan weekly Catholic New York, published a 12-page statement by Cardinal John O’Connor stating that Catholic politicians risk excommunication if they insist on supporting abortion rights.

Excommunication, states the Cardinal, may be the only option for Catholics who persist in advocating legislation that supports abortion on its public funding.

The Cardinal’s comments drew immediate criticism from Catholic Mario Cuomo, Governor of New York, who supports both public funding of abortion as well as its legalization, claiming all the while that he is “personally opposed.”

The controversy has been growing in intensity over a period of time. (see The Interim’s front page articles: “Excommunication controversy brewing” (February 1990) and “Risking Hell” (March 1990).

Cardinal O’Connor stated further “Where Catholics are perceived not only as treating church teaching on abortion with contempt, but helping to multiply abortions by advocating legislation supporting abortion or by making funds available for abortions, bishops may decide that such Catholics must be warned they are at risk of excommunication.”

“If such actions persist, bishops may consider excommunication the only option.” (See also “K of C,” page 21, and “Pro-choice Catholics” not Catholic, page 11).