Commentary: Bishop Michael Bransfield's response to Pope Francis' encyclical seems less informed by the pope's pastoral statements than by coal industry talking points.
Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston said he was surprised at West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have prohibited nonmedical crisis abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Tomblin vetoed the bill late Friday.
"I am very surprised by Gov. Tomblin's veto of the Pain-Capable Act," the bishop said. "For most West Virginians, this is bitter news, especially on the heels of the governor's use of his ability to veto budgeted items to cut benefits to poor children and families in West Virginia."
Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston asked the state's Catholics to join him in praying for the 300,000 people affected by the Jan. 9 chemical spill in the southern region of the state.
He asked for the prayers during the televised Mass he celebrated Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling, noting the many people who were still suffering in Charleston and the surrounding area who had not had access to clean water for days.
The U.S. bishops, in separate votes Tuesday, approved a budget for the year 2014 and a 3 percent increase in diocesan assessments starting in 2015.
The bishops also approved a proposal to modify that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' bylaws to allow the chairman of its audit subcommittee to be chosen from among their overall membership rather than restrict the choice to those bishops currently serving on the USCCB Administrative Board, as has currently been the practice.
All three votes took place the second day of the annual USCCB fall general assembly in Baltimore.