by Steven Ertelt
October 7, 2004
St. Louis, MO (LifeNews.com) — Several of the nation’s Catholic bishops continue to lead the charge against supporting politicians who back abortion. Whether it’s denying such elected officials communion or a speaking engagement at churches or encouraging voters to choose based on the pro-life issue, leading Catholics are becoming more vocal than ever before.
Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has been one of the most outspoken.
Earlier this year, he sparked a national debate when he said he would deny communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry because he backs abortion.
Now, Burke says there is no justification for people to vote for candidates who support abortion.
In a new pastoral letter, Burke acknowledges that voters must choose between two candidate who are at odds with the Catholic Church on some political issues.
Burke wrote that "there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, that a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the innocent, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, [or] human cloning."
Burke said those voters who justify voting for a candidate because of his position on war, saying it is of equal importance as abortion, are wrong.
Meanwhile, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan agrees.
In a recent column, Sheridan writes that not even the elimination of poverty justifies "the direct murder of just one human being."
Sheridan also said a Vatican document has been misused by those who say Catholic voters can support a pro-abortion candidate because of his stance on other issues.
According to Sheridan the document said that there must be some proportionately equal reason for the vote, and nothing would "outweigh the holocaust of abortion." He says it is it is "virtually inconceivable" to find a greater evil than abortion.
A leading Catholic pro-life advocate concurs with the bishops.
"The writings of our Holy Father and the American bishops point to the right to life as paramount," Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life tells LifeNews.com.
Pavone refers to the Christifideles Laici and says Pope John Paul II "expresses common sense" when he says "the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination."
"Or, as I put it, if a politician can’t respect the life of a little baby, how is he supposed to respect yours," Pavone added.