Townsend also favors the death penalty, and she supports abortion rights. Although the church is opposed to the death penalty, with both the pope and the U.S. bishops speaking out against it, church leaders tolerate dissent on the issue. But Catholic opposition to abortion is ironclad and has led some bishops to clash with politicians who support abortion rights.Townsend bristles at the notion, sometimes expressed by conservative Catholics, that differing with the church on some issues would call into question one's commitment to Catholicism. "I think the term Catholic means universal and it means inclusive," she said. "And that's what I think our church is."