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NO DISRESPECT INTENDED FOR BISHOP MANSELL

Please allow me to clear up any misunderstanding that may have arisen from the Jan. 23 article in The News concerning Bishop Henry J. Mansell's decision not to attend President Clinton's recent appearance at Marine Midland Arena.

My comments were to some extent taken out of context. With respect to the moral aspects of the facts and allegations of the impeachment case currently being brought against Clinton, I understand completely Bishop Mansell's decision not to attend the event.

In his short time with our diocese, Bishop Mansell has proven himself an excellent leader to his congregation, and as a Catholic myself I am cognizant and respectful of Bishop Mansell's significant contribution to Western New York's spiritual well-being, as well as to our area in general.

The point of my statement was simply that there are thousands of Catholics who are capable of separating the issue of a woman's right to choose in both spiritual and public policy terms.

Many Catholics -- myself included -- are capable of adherence to the church's teachings on a personal level while maintaining a pro-choice position on the issue of abortion. On a daily basis, these same people can quite capably justify this position in their minds and with their God.

At no time were my comments intended to be in any way disrespectful to the bishop or the church hierarchy. As a result of this misunderstanding, I have personally apologized to Bishop Mansell and have pledged to continue working with him on the many issues that are of mutual concern.

G. STEVEN PIGEON

Chairman

Erie County Democratic Committee

Buffalo

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