Catholic school removes portrait of alum Raimondo

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Roman Catholic preparatory school that Treasurer Gina Raimondo attended has removed a portrait of her following comments she made at Planned Parenthood that aren't in line with the school's teachings, a school spokesman said Friday.

La Salle Academy President Thomas Gerrow decided to have the picture taken down from a wall in the school's main building that displays other notable alumni, according to spokesman Drew Lagace. It was taken down Thursday, the day the Democratic gubernatorial nominee spoke in support of abortion rights and "reproductive freedom."

"Her comments kind of go against our teachings here at La Salle," Lagace said. He declined to elaborate and said he did not know if the picture's removal was permanent.

Raimondo, who currently is general treasurer, was valedictorian of her class at La Salle.

Eric Hyers, Raimondo's campaign manager, had no immediate comment. Raimondo, who is Catholic, was asked Thursday after the campaign event about her stance on abortion, which conflicts with that of the church.

"The Catholic Church has a clear position, and I have a clear position," she said.

Thomas Tobin, bishop of the Diocese of Providence, issued a statement Thursday following her appearance at Planned Parenthood, which endorsed her. The statement did not name Raimondo but appeared to be directed at her.

"It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain," he said. "Such actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of moral courage."

He said the pope has said "how evil abortion really is" and that he wanted to remind Rhode Island Catholics that "abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God for the unjust death of unborn children."

Tobin said last year he had switched his party affiliation to Republican from Democrat after the Democratic Party's 2012 national convention. He said he couldn't be associated with the party's views on abortion and same-sex marriage.

WPRO-AM first reported that the picture had been taken down at La Salle.

Lagace said he believed the school's decision to remove it was made separately from the Diocese.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung, the mayor of Cranston, has indicated he supports abortion rights but was endorsed in the primary by the group Rhode Island Right to Life.

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