Catholic Bishop in West Virginia: Voting for Pro-Abortion Pols "Grave Evil"

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishop in West Virginia: Voting for Pro-Abortion Pols "Grave Evil" Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 22, 2004

Wheeling, WV ( — A West Virginia bishop has joined the chorus of Catholic leaders who are telling Catholic voters that voting for candidates who support abortion goes against the pro-life teachings of the church. Bishop Bernard Schmitt of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese issued a statewide letter this week to that effect.

"Abortion is the greatest moral evil of our age," Bishop Schmitt wrote, in a letter addressed to 137 Catholic churches and over 80,000 parishioners.

Schmitt wrote that the abortion issue is more important than other key issues for the church, such as the death penalty or war.

"All evils are not equal," the bishop explained. "Abortion, representing as it does an attack on the most innocent of all human life and the most sacred of all human relationships, is so grave and profound an evil that it calls all men and women of good will to action."

"In light of that truth, a Catholic who deliberately votes for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion is guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil," Bishop Schmitt wrote.

Schmitt is one of more than a dozen bishops across the country to issue similar statements.

Thomas Papeika, a representative of the diocese said Bishop Schmitt had been wanting to address the issue since he was a guest speaker at a local West Virginians for Life chapter event.

"The bishop said he feels guilty that he hasn’t said anything about abortion before now," Papeika told the Associated Press.

The statement will be posted on the diocesan website and printed in the Catholic Spirit, the official newspaper.

Related web sites:
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston –