Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Covington Bishop Foys Had Barred Kentucky Right to Life Group from Churches

Bishop Roger Foys of Covington

In 2006, Covington Bishop Roger Foys banned the pro-life group Northern Kentucky Right to Life (NKRTL) from all churches and diocesan facilities and prohibited them from handing out literature on diocesan property.

Bishop Foys was installed as Bishop of Covington in 2002 and continues to serve in that position, He recently came under fire for condemning the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students in their encounter with other protest groups after participating in the March for Life in Washington D.C.

It should be noted that Northern Kentucky Right to Life has been called a "maverick" group by some and has in at least one case found itself at odds with other pro-life groups operating in Kentucky regarding political endorsements.

The following 2006 article from a local news source quotes Foys as implying that his actions had something to do with the "tactics" of NKRTL, but his precise reasoning or justification were not explicitly given.

I do not know whether his "ban" was ever lifted. 

Northern Kentucky Right to Life continues to operate and apparently thrive. Its "45th Annual Celebration For Life" occurred on September 30, 2018 and featured the governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin as the guest speaker along with 750 attendees.

From Wave3News (Kentucky):
Diocese Bars Area Right To Life Group From Churches 
October 25, 2006 at 3:58 PM EST - Updated July 26 at 1:21 PM 
(NEWPORT, Ky.) -- A northern Kentucky Catholic diocese has barred an anti-abortion group from its churches and forbidden its priests from handing out the literature from the organization. 
Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington, Ky., issued a note to priests last week saying priests should have "no involvement" with Northern Kentucky Right to Life and to remove all of the group's materials from diocese facilities and churches. 
"There are many good people involved in NKRTL who are being misled," Foys wrote, without giving specifics. "We cannot give any semblance that the Diocese approves of the tactics of some of the leadership of NKRTL." 
The move has angered and confused the leadership of Northern Kentucky Right to Life. Fred Summe, a Newport attorney who is the group's vice president, said Foys has not spoken to the group about what tactics the church finds objectionable nor about how he feels people are being misled. 
"If we're doing something wrong, why doesn't he approach us," Summe said. "That's just Christian charity." 
The unusual split among longtime associates in the Cincinnati suburbs comes just days after the diocese hosted its annual "Pro-Life Mass," which included representatives from Northern Kentucky Right to Life. Northern Kentucky Right to Life distributed its literature at the Cathedral Basilica of The Assumption and at a reception following the services, along with other anti-abortion groups. 
Chester Gillis, chairman of the Department of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who has studied the Catholic Church, said the Catholic Church wouldn't normally ban a group like Northern Kentucky Right to Life, mainly because they have the same goals. In the past, the church has stopped groups from meeting in its facilities or posting fliers on cars during Mass, Gillis said. 
"Usually, with people with contrarian views, the church will bar them," Gillis said. "There must be something offensive about this group." 
The diocese and the politically active anti-abortion group have had run-ins before. The group has been known for its harsh criticisms of candidates who do not meet the organization's standards in opposing abortion, stem-cell research and emergency contraception. Northern Kentucky Right to Life puts out annually a questionnaire to Kentucky candidates and makes endorsements partially based on the answers. 
In 1990, then-Bishop William A. Hughes created the diocesan "Pro-Life Commission," which is still in existence, and issued a statement saying Northern Kentucky Right to Life isn't sponsored by the diocese and "...does not speak for the Catholic Church." Foys' note to the priests used similar language and noted "confusion" about the relationship between the two. 
"His message was meant to clarify," said Tim Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the Diocese of Covington, which covers 14 counties and 89,000 people in northern Kentucky. 
No one is saying exactly what caused the split. Fitzgerald declined to make Foys available for an interview. Fitzgerald said the note to priests was not meant to be public. 
Fitzgerald said there were some concerns about Northern Kentucky Right to Life's "tactics" and methods, including "inaccuracies" in the groups' newsletters and talks with the group couldn't resolve the differences. When asked for specifics about the tactics or inaccurate statements, Fitzgerald declined comment. 
"Northern Kentucky Right to Life has been more adamant, more reluctant to engage in dialogues," Fitzgerald said. "Northern Kentucky Right to Life has not taken advantage of this opportunity to collaborate." 
Summe said the move -- just weeks before the Nov. 7 elections -- is hurting both the organization and the cause they both believe in. 
"We're out doing what the Holy Father tells us to do, educate the public on the ultimate issue," Summe said. "You'd think the diocese would encourage us. They need to be specific in what they think we're doing wrong." 
Gillis said it's likely the reason for the dispute will eventually be made public. 
"You probably haven't heard the last of this," Gillis said.


  1. My Seamless Garment theory: Choose wrong on Life (abortion, sodomy, euthanasia) choose wrong on everything.

    Exclude from God's Temple the supporters of little babies who will be murdered and by definition you choose against God on everything else as well.

    The true Seamless Garment.

    He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scatters (Luke 11:23)

  2. And wouldn't you just know it, Foys hails from Franciscan University in Stupidville.

  3. This Bishop,is a disgrace.. I must assume that he has absolutely zero old as he is and as close as he has come to death..and he still will not honor life..

  4. Wow, the bishop can be pretty speedy when he wants to be! No postponing his reaction for 3 months, as he and the other US bishops tamely agreed to do when the subject was sexual debauchery in the clergy, he was spluttering denunciations of these boys before their bus was even back in Kentucky!

  5. What's with all the secrecy? Get it all on the table. Of course, getting it all on the table is something most Bishops and Pope Francis are loath to do. Concealment and surreptitiousness is their standard operating procedure.

  6. Is NKRTL an affiliate of Judie Brown's pro-life apostolate?

    Pro-Life Wisconsin, a Judie Brown affiliate, was stiffed by then-Abp. Dolan who chose to favor Wisconsin Right to Life (a Prot-dominated bunch) over some snit he had with Judie.

  7. Let's be honest: The Catholic Establishment works for Satan. It sold itself out to Satan long ago, far longer than most Catholics want to admit.

  8. I am a long-time member of NKRTL and a current board member. The uncompromising pro-life group was started prior to the Roe V Wade decision and one of the founding members was Bishop Richard Ackerman who was then bishop of Covington and was widely known as a pro-life bishop. His successors were not as pro-life (to say the least) and we at NKRTL had high hopes for the new Bishop Foys. However he banned us from the Churches and many priests were happy to comply, preferring their own wimpy seamless-garment style of opposing baby slaughter to the name-names and take no prisoners style of opposition, especially by our late president, Robert Cetrulo, whose name will feature prominently when the history of the struggle against legalized abortion is written by the survivors.
    Bishop Foys has ignored repeated appeals for meetings or explanations about why he disagrees with our stance on various matters. He is a typical churchman for today, brave only against faithful catholics.

  9. That was then. This is now. Bishop Foys participated at the Celebration of Life event for Northern Kentucky Right to Life event in 2018. It was a great event and the Bishop actually commended Governor Bevin.