U.S.C.C.B. Withdraws From Rights Group

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has withdrawn from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, citing the group’s “expanded and broadened agenda.” In announcing the withdrawal on May 19, Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., right, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Peace, pointed to the rights group’s support of the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court as the most recent example of how the concerns of the two organizations have diverged. The civil rights conference, said Bishop Murphy, “has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops’ conference.” Traditionally, the bishops have been neutral on court nominees, said Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., who is director of media relations for the bishops’ conference. Kagan, now the U.S. solicitor general, was nominated by President Obama on May 10 to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

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