Pro-Life Leader Says Newspaper Misleads Catholic Voters on Pro-Abortion Pols

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Leader Says Newspaper Misleads Catholic Voters on Pro-Abortion Pols

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 30
, 2008

Trenton, NJ ( — A pro-life Catholic leader says a New Jersey newspaper is misleading Catholic voters on the importantance of not supporting candidates who back abortion. The Trenton Times claims single issue voting based on abortion is passe this election cycle and quotes a priest who misleads its readers.

"If you think you know how the Catholic Church in the United States wants its members to vote in the presidential election this year, think again," the Times proclaims in a Wednesday article.

"Single-issue voting, like simply choosing the anti-abortion candidate, is out," it contends.

The Times quotes Rev. Ronald J. Cioffi, director of the Office of Social Concerns for the Diocese of Trenton to make its case.

"This is the most prickly point," Cioffi says.

"You may vote for a person who is pro-choice if you feel you have a moral reason to support the candidate for his stand on other issues," he claims. "As Catholics, we are not single-issue voters."

Cioffi claims this teaching is different from what Catholic officials taught four years ago when the last presidential election pitted a pro-abortion Catholic versus a pro-life candidate.

But Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, says not so fast.

“To understand that support for legal abortion is enough to disqualify a candidate from consideration for public office, one doesn’t need a bishops’ document or an argument about the nuances of Catholic teaching," he tells "One only needs to look at what abortion is."

"Would we say to a candidate who supported terrorism, ‘I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your health care plan?’" Pavone asked.

"The first requirement of a public servant is to be able to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. And voters need to be able to tell the difference, too," he maintained.

Pavone said that a valid assessment of how Catholics should vote and what issues should take precedent must revolve around those pro-life precepts.

“Any discussion of ‘Catholic’ teaching that doesn’t build on this foundation is only going to lead to more confusion, which is exactly what the Times article does," he told

The Times article discussed how Rev. Cioffi presented the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" at a meeting with staff members of the diocese.

Pavone said the document has very clear voting guidelines that reveal the importance of the pro-life position to Catholics.

He explained: “Turning to the document itself, it does state, ‘a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.’"

"Of course it can. That flows not just from Catholic teaching, but from common sense," Pavone said.

Related web sites:
Priests for Life –


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