Bishop, Hagan have ‘respectful’ meeting

By David Skolnick


State Rep. Robert F. Hagan, whose invitation to be commencement speaker at a Catholic nursing school was rescinded by Bishop George V. Murry, met with the head of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

The bishop had the invitation to speak at the graduation ceremony for Mercy School of Nursing at the St. Columba Cathedral rescinded April 27 because Hagan, a Catholic, supports abortions.

The bishop and Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, met last Thursday, according to a joint statement from the two released Tuesday.

The two “noted that we disagree on the issue of abortion while at the same time [agree] on other issues of public policy, such as comprehensive immigration reform, health-care access to all persons, especially the poor, the need for more public response to poverty alleviation, and the elimination of the death penalty,” the statement reads.

The two agreed to continue discussing “shared concerns,” and called the meeting “cordial and respectful,” according to the statement.

The bishop previously said that the Mercy School invited Hagan “without any proper review by my office.”

Though Bishop Murry said he respects “many of the social-justice positions taken by” Hagan, the state representative “consistently voted for pro-abortion legislation, policies and funding. Abortion extinguishes an unborn human life. It is an intrinsically evil action, which the Catholic church has condemned for centuries.”

After being told he was no longer invited, Hagan asked for a meeting with the bishop. The bishop agreed.

Hagan at the time wrote on his Facebook page that he was “saddened that the work that I have done to feed the poor, clothe the naked, help cure the sick, and to bring an end to the death penalty has fallen on deaf ears. I guess being an altar boy for six years didn’t qualify me for dispensation.”

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