Catholic Cardinal Joseph Tobin is facing criticism for saying voters can support Joe Biden “in good conscience” despite the pro-abortion Democrat’s radical pro-abortion stance.
The Catholic News Agency reports Tobin, of Newark, made the comment Tuesday during a “The Church and Catholic Voters in the 2020 Election” panel discussion at Boston College.
Though the Catholic leader did not endorse any candidate, he suggested Biden might be more acceptable than President Donald Trump, who has taken a historic number of life-saving actions to protect unborn babies from abortion.
According to the report, Tobin said he believes “a person in good conscience could vote for Mr. Biden” for president.
“I, frankly, in my own way of thinking, have a more difficult time with the other option,” he added, supposedly meaning Trump. “ … there are serious reasons to not consider either [political] party as being representative of the Catholic tradition,” but “the problem is we have to vote. We should vote.”
CNA followed up with Tobin on Wednesday to ask several clarifying questions.
According to the report:
The cardinal told CNA Sept. 16 that his comments were not intended to endorse any political candidate for office, but declined to say whether he believes a Catholic could vote in good conscience for Donald Trump.
While the cardinal’s remarks Tuesday recognized that the Democratic party platform seeks to “remove the unborn child from the equation,” Tobin did not indicate what issues he thought might justify a vote for Biden, in light of the U.S. bishops’ conference teaching that ending abortion is a “preeminent priority” in public life.
“I neither endorsed nor opposed anyone running for office. I simply reminded Catholics of our responsibility to take part in the elective process,” Cardinal Tobin said in a statement to CNA on Wednesday.
The archdiocese also responded with a statement emphasizing that Catholics cannot vote for political candidates who support intrinsically evil acts, including abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia.
However, it added, “At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.”
Other Catholic leaders, however, believe abortion should carry a greater moral weight as a voting issue because it destroys more innocent human lives than any other cause. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, 62 million unborn babies have been brutally killed by abortions. Every year, nearly 1 million more are aborted – some by being poisoned, others by being torn limb from limb while their hearts are still beating.
In a column at The Federalist this week, Father Daniel Maria Klimek, an assistant professor of theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said other issues like caring for the homeless, refugees, immigrants and prisoners on death row are important, but none are as massively destructive or as imminent as “the immediate killing of innocent human lives” in abortions and euthanasia.
“There are some issues, particularly abortion and euthanasia, that always have a higher moral gravity because they are intrinsically evil acts that constitute the direct killing of innocent human life,” he wrote. “Supporting such fundamentally evil acts is a mortal sin.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also is encouraging Catholic voters to make protections for unborn babies a “preeminent priority” at the voting booth in November.
Biden’s policies are the opposite of pro-life. He said he plans to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and appoint Supreme Court justices who will support abortion on demand. Biden also said he would fight to end the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions – which could lead to 60,000 more unborn babies’ deaths to abortion each year.
Also concerning to many Catholics, Biden promised to restore an Obama-era mandate that would force the nuns with Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers to fund contraception, including types that may cause abortions, in their employee health insurance plans.