by Steven Ertelt
November 2, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Catholic bishops across the country made one final plea to parishioners to make voting decisions primarily based on pro-life issues. Both President Bush and John Kerry are aiming to win as much of the Catholic vote as possible.
Bishop David Zubik of Green Bay, Wisconsin issued a pastoral note placed in church bulletins emphasizing he was not endorsing any candidates but asking Catholic faithful to draw a distinction between candidates who embrace pro-life principles and those who do not.
"Some political figures in this election have asserted that there is a natural divide between their religious beliefs and their political views," Zubik wrote in a column which was also published in the diocesan newspaper.
"I argue that [this] is patently false. [It] goes against the fabric of what it means to be a person of faith."
Meanwhile, Catholic bishops in Massachusetts, Kerry’s home state, said the right to life should be central in the elections today.
"We must, therefore, oppose on both moral and legal grounds, abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia," the bishops said in a statement about voting.
In Philadelphia, home to one of the major presidential battlegrounds, Cardinal Justin Rigali reminded Catholic voters that the "highest priority" for Catholic voters is "our duty to defend innocent human life."
"The Church identifies moral principles about which Catholics should be informed when exercising their right to vote. As Catholics, we hold in highest priority the right to life and our duty to defend innocent human life," Cardinal Rigali wrote in the diocesan newspaper."
"This principle applies directly to the protection of unborn children as well as to the Church ‘s opposition to embryonic stem cell research, cloning, assisted suicide and euthanasia," Rigali added.
Orlando, Florida is located in another key battleground state and Catholic leaders there agree that pro-life issues are paramount.
"More than terrorism, the tendency to moral relativism in our culture is the greatest threat to authentic democracy today," Bishop Thomas Wenski wrote recently.
Nationwide polls of Catholic voters in September and early October showed President Bush with a lead over Kerry among Catholics. More recently, Kerry has come back and holds a slight lead with Catholic voters — 50-48 according to a recent Gallop poll.
The poll, taken Oct. 22-24, shows Bush with a 49 to 47 percent lead among churchgoing Catholics.