Church teaching is unambiguous: Abortion is always immoral and cannot be supported. Ahead of the November elections, numerous bishops have issued statements to remind Catholics of their duty to vote according to the Church’s moral teachings.
All Catholics should practice their Faith in private as well as in public. There is a tendency among Catholic politicians, however, to serve Cesar and abandon Christ. These renegade Catholics are easy to spot because they support moral evils such as same-sex “marriage” and abortion.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a document titled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which states:
“Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion…”
Furthermore, the USCCB mentions abortion as a top issue. “The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”
The following cardinals and bishops offer guidance for Catholic voters:
Raymond Cardinal Burke, former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, warned that politicians who call themselves “Catholic” but support abortion cannot receive Holy Communion. Referring to a politician who who presents himself as a practicing Catholic, Cardinal Burke explains:
“So, first of all, I would tell him not to approach Holy Communion out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege, and a danger to the salvation of his own soul.”
“This is not a political statement,” continued Cardinal Burke. “I don’t intend to get involved in recommending any candidate for office, but simply to state that a Catholic may not support abortion in any shape or form because it is one of the most grievous sins against human life, and has always been considered to be intrinsically evil and therefore to in any way support the act is a mortal sin.”
Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement—Priority at the Polls—reminding Catholics why abortion is a top issue.
“The enormous number of human lives destroyed by abortion is one factor that elevates its importance. The most recent available data indicates over 2,000 children per day die from abortion in the United States. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, over 61 million children have been killed—and untold numbers of women and men suffer in the aftermath.”
Most Rev. James V. Johnston, Jr., Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, addresses his flock in a letter:
“First, voting is a moral act that requires a well-formed conscience and the exercise of prudence. Our conscience does not determine what is right or wrong—God does! Our conscience tells us whether our actions are consistent with what his Law teaches is right or wrong.”
The bishop’s pastoral letter continues: “A Catholic voter would do well to weigh a candidate’s position on each of these essential God-given rights that government has a duty to protect, beginning with the right to life.”
Writing in the Denver Catholic, Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop of Denver, Colorado, emphasizes that Catholics must consider moral issues as they go to the polls.
“Essential for every Catholic to fulfill his or her duty as a citizen is knowing where candidates stand on the issues of life, family and religious freedom. It is not possible to be a Catholic in good standing and support abortion or assisted suicide, to promote unnatural sexuality, or to seek to push people of faith out of the public square.”
Most Rev. David A. Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, issued a letter to Catholics affirming that “Respect for life IS the issue.”
“To follow one’s conscience does not mean following one’s feelings,” affirms Bishop Zubik. “It means praying over, studying about and looking at the big picture of ‘life issues’ beginning with conception.”
Most Rev. Alfred Schlert, Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania, reminds his flock that “a Catholic voter is to approach the ballot box with the defense of innocent human life uppermost in his/her mind and conscience. As voters, we must carefully examine our consciences to determine if our vote cooperates with a candidate’s promotion of the grave sins of abortion and euthanasia.”
Continues Bishop Schlert: “Some may see these words of guidance as an intrusion into the political arena. To the contrary, the Church and her bishops have a serious obligation and right to participate in public discourse and to assist the faithful in properly forming their consciences to be able to participate fully, with free and informed will, in the moral and civic act of voting.”
Most Rev. Donald J. Hying, Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, states that “the pastor’s role is to teach and preach the Faith, so that all may vote with an informed conscience, even as we acknowledge that no individual or party can ever represent the totality of our values and beliefs.”
On the abortion issue, His Excellency speaks clearly: “The Catholic Church has always condemned procured abortion as a very grave and intrinsic evil because it destroys human life in its most initial stage of development and fragile state of vulnerability.”
Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri, underscores the preeminent importance of abortion:
“If you don’t hold that abortion is the preeminent moral issue of our time, and if you don’t struggle to justify voting for a candidate whose record or policy would favor or even expand abortion, then you probably aren’t forming a Catholic conscience in preparation to vote.”
Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Texas, is emphatic:
“Every procured abortion is intrinsically immoral – always and everywhere wrong. Thus, our absolute opposition to legalized abortion must be the first of the preeminent issues we consider in voting. Any candidate or political party which promotes abortion is precluded from any further consideration for a Catholic voter.”
His Excellency continues: “I urge the faithful in this diocese to realize that anyone who directly promotes abortion is not acceptable for leadership in our society.”
Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic, JCL, Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio, issued a letter to his flock:
“The consistent teaching of the Church regarding the intrinsic evil of abortion seeks to secure all other rights as well. We are not a ‘single issue’ Church; there are other extremely important rights that we must defend, to be sure; but these additional rights flow from and are rooted in the fundamental right to life itself.”
Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, published a column in the Catholic Times titled “Keep in mind abortion remains ‘preeminent’ issue in upcoming election.”
“To say that an issue is ‘preeminent’ does not mean that it is the only issue, but that it surpasses all others in importance,” Bishop Paprocki explains. “It is preeminent in that it is the basic human right on which all other rights depend. After all, if a baby is killed before birth, that person will never be able to exercise any other human rights.”
Objective truth informs our conscience, not personal feelings.
“Liberal voices often argue that in rebelling against Church teaching on abortion and homosexuality they are following the dictates of conscience. However, conscience is not the source of morality,” explains a 2004 statement by the American TFP.
“The objective norm of morality is God’s law known to us through our rational nature (natural law) and by divine revelation (divine positive law). Therefore, although our conscience perceives the natural moral law and makes it present to us in order to guide our action, it does not create this law.”