Bishops: No Reason for Pro-Life Catholic to Back Pro-Abortion Candidate
by Steven Ertelt
September 11, 2008
Kansas City, KS (LifeNews.com) — Two leading Catholics bishops have issued a statement making it clear that pro-life issues like abortion and euthanasia must be the top priority for Catholic voters. While not endorsing any candidate, the Catholic leaders say those issues should guide the choices Catholic voters make in November.
Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn address the questions in a joint pastoral letter released Thursday.
"With the approaching general election this November, we believe this to be an important moment for us to address together the responsibility of Catholics to be well informed and well formed voters," they say.
While Catholic voters should be concerned with "a wide range of issues" about which there is disagreement as to the best public policies.
But when it comes to pro-life issues, the Church strongly believes a pro-life policy is necessary without compromise, they say.
"There are, however, some issues that always involve doing evil, such as legalized abortion … as well as public policies permitting euthanasia … or destructive human embryonic stem cell research," they write.
"A properly formed conscience must give such issues priority even over other matters with important moral dimensions. To vote for a candidate who supports these intrinsic evils because he or she supports these evils is to participate in a grave moral evil. It can never be justified," they say.
They go on to say they can envision no reason why a pro-life Catholic voter would support a pro-abortion candidate.
"Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy?" they ask.
"In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason," they say.
The bishops provide Catholic voters with guidelines for choosing between two candidates who take different stands on life and death issues — such as abortion, the death penalty and war.
"In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm," they say. "We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely."
With abortion claiming nearly 50 million victims in the United States, the bishops appear to make it clear that no other issue is more important than where the candidates stand on abortion as other life and death issues result in the destruction of far fewer people.
In fact, the bishops go on to say that there is no justification for supporting a candidate who supports legal abortions when there is a candidate who opposes them.
"The voter, who himself or herself opposed these [pro-abortion] policies, would have insufficient moral justification voting for the more permissive candidate," they write.
If the voter can’t support the pro-life candidate on abortion, "he or she might justify resorting to a write-in vote or abstaining from voting at all in this case, because of a conscientious objection."
The bishops call on Catholics to insist that their elected officials take opposition to abortion seriously.
They say it would be wrong for Catholics "to fail to be engaged in the greatest human rights struggle of our time, namely the need to protect the right to life of the weakest and most vulnerable."
"We need committed Catholics in both major political parties to insist upon respect for the values they share with so many other people of faith and good will regarding the protection of the sanctity of human life," they say.
"It is particularly disturbing to witness the spectacle of Catholics in public life vocally upset with the Church for teaching what it has always taught on these moral issues for 2,000 years, but silent in objecting to the embrace, by either political party, of the cultural trends of the past few decades that are totally inconsistent with our nations history of defending the weakest and most vulnerable," they conclude.
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