A second prominent anti-abortion Catholic legal scholar has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president. Nicholas P. Cafardi, a law professor and the former dean of the Duquesne University Law School, is an establishment Catholic figure -- he is a leading expert on canon law, he spent 13 years as the general counsel for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, he spent three years on the board of the Canon Law Society of America, and he was appointed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to the first National Review Board advising the church on its response to clergy sexual abuse. He authored an analysis of the bishops' response to clergy sexual abuse, "Before Dallas,'' that was published this year by Paulist Press.
Cafardi (right) explained his decision to endorse Obama in a column for the Religion News Service which was published in the National Catholic Reporter. An excerpt:
"Obama's support for abortion rights has led some to the conclusion that no Catholic can vote for him. That's a mistake. While I have never swayed in my conviction that abortion is an unspeakable evil, I believe that we have lost the abortion battle -- permanently. A vote for Sen. John McCain does not guarantee the end of abortion in America. Not even close....Every faithful Catholic agrees that abortion is an unspeakable evil that must be minimized, if not eliminated. I can help to achieve that without endorsing Republicans' immoral baggage. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not the only way to end abortion, and a vote for Obama is not somehow un-Catholic."
Cafardi is the second high-profile anti-abortion Catholic academic to endorse Obama; the first was Douglas W. Kmiec, a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine University who was formerly the dean of the law school at the Catholic University of America.
(Photo of Cafardi from Duquesne University.)