Last Minute Ads Focus on President Bush, John Kerry, Catholics and Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 31, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Last Minute Ads Focus on President Bush, John Kerry, Catholics and Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 31, 2004

Washington, DC ( — If you’re a Catholic voter, a number of last-minute ad campaigns are competing for your attention and urging you to vote a certain way. Some ads are encouraging Catholic faithful to vote primarily based on abortion and other pro-life issues while another criticizes such "single issue" voters.

In the final days of the campaign a group called Catholics Against Kerry is running ads in the key battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania along with a Spanish version aimed at voters in New Mexico.

Retired Corpus Christ, Texas Bishop Rene Henry Gracida appears in the spots and reminds Catholics they have "a serious moral obligation to vote responsibly."

"Voting responsibly this year means voting for candidates who are pro-life," Bishop Gracida explains. "Candidates who are pro-life are opposed to all acts of violence against innocent human life, such as abortion, euthanasia and fetal experimentation."

But ads appearing in the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper bash those who subscribe to Gracida’s line of thought.

The ad, run by a group called Pax Christi, described abortion as one of many issues Catholics should consider when voting. It included hundreds of signatures of those who agreed, including 50 priests.

Another group, Catholics for Political Responsibility, is airing two radio spots in rotation on 15 Ohio radio stations in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, and Toledo bashing President Bush.

Sidney Callahan, co-director of the group, says the organization opposes Bush because of his involvement in Iraq.

But Bishop Gracida disagrees with the notion that abortion and pro-life issues are one the same par as others.

"Before one can give priority to social questions such as war, the economy, social security and health care issues, one must recognize that all such issues must first of all be based on respect for human life" Gracida says.

His perspective seems to be upheld by Vatican officials.

Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, says Pope John Paul II "speaks of the protection of life as the fundamental realization and respect for human rights."

"Without that realization, without that respect for the right to life, no other discussion of human rights can continue," Martino added.