Media, John Kerry Supporters Misuse Cardinal’s Abortion Comment

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 9, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Media, John Kerry Supporters Misuse Cardinal’s Abortion Comment Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 9, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A leading Catholic priest is taking the media and supporters of presidential candidate John Kerry to task for misusing a comment by a Vatican official to make it appear that Catholics can vote for pro-abortion candidates without violating important church teachings.

With headlines such as "Catholic Voters Given Leeway on Abortion Rights Issue," and "Catholics Allowed Some Discretion on Abortion Rights," media outlets nationwide have been saying Catholic leaders are sanctioning voting for candidates that back abortion.

However, Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, says the media is twisting a Cardinal’s words and taking a comment out of context.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican department charged with encouraging Catholics to follow church teaching, recently wrote a letter to Washington’s Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Ratzinger said Catholics should not vote for candidates "deliberately" because they support abortion. He also said they could vote for pro-abortion candidates if there was a proportionate moral reason for doing so.

However, media outlets have stopped there — not noting that Ratzinger said there is no proportionate reason that can justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate. That upsets Pavone.

"Cardinal Ratzinger explicitly states the opposite of what some are saying, namely, that we can elect pro-abortion candidates just because we like their other positions," Father Pavone explained.

"Moreover, the Cardinal explicitly declares in the same letter that other issues do not carry the same weight as abortion," Pavone added.

Pro-abortion Catholics are also using the statement to justify their beliefs.

Father Andrew Greeley, also a New York Daily News columnist, says "Catholics can vote for Kerry" and "it would not be a sin to do so."

Pavone accused media outlets and Kerry backers of "a classic abuse of religion" by using a leading Catholic official to justify violence.

"There is no act of violence more brutal, or claiming more victims than abortion. It kills 4,000 children daily in the United States alone. Practitioners admit under oath that they dismember and decapitate these babies," Pavone explained.

"If people try to equate that with other issues by misquoting a Vatican Cardinal, they are guilty of the most shameless type of abuse of religion," Pavone concluded.