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CHURCH FAILS TO SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE

A recent News photograph showed Sen. Hillary Clinton and John J. Kaczorowski, president of the Buffalo AFL-CIO Council, being welcomed by Bishop Henry J. Mansell during a Labor Day Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

For the second time in a year, the Irish-Catholic community of South Buffalo hosted a political event starring Clinton. Last fall, it happened in the Irish Center, when Clinton and the Kennedys came to town to stump for Al Gore. However, the insult this time was far more egregious.

This time, the sacrifice of the Mass was permitted to be used as a backdrop for yet another political show. TV coverage showed Clinton happily swaying to the music during Mass. Another clip showed a priest warmly greeting her outside. And as The News photo shows, there was the bishop, welcoming her.

It is disgusting, given Clinton's unambiguous support for abortion rights, that no action is taken to prevent her from grabbing photo-ops with bishops, priests and fawning Catholic women. It is no wonder that the percentage of Catholics procuring abortion is no different from that of the general population.

Bishops and priests need to do more than issue policy statements to exhort the faithful with regard to their obligation to support and vote only for those who support and defend human life. The "Catholic in the pew" sorely needs and is entitled to a clear-sounding trumpet.

SARAH ZILBAUER

Grand Island

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