Politics Does Not A Bishop Make

November 15, 2007 09:00 AM

I am so disheartened by the new USCCB document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."

The bishops tell the reader that, "The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many." This is in paragraph 28 and is a fabulous statement. But, in #42 they say, "As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate's position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter's support. Yet 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."

What??? Abortion and racism? Could it be that a hateful attitude and an act of direct murder are equally evil in Church teaching? Where is that written?

And why, pray tell, would the bishops tell us that support for such an evil "may legitimately lead a voter..."? Does that mean that a voter could cast a vote for someone who supports such an evil?

What in the world does section 42 really mean? And, believe me, it gets worse.

In #64 the bishops say, "Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed," but in #32 they say that "incremental improvements in the law" can be acceptable. One has to wonder if that includes exceptions such as rape, incest and life of the mother which the bishops have supported for years.

The bishops further state in #33 that, "prudential judgment is also needed in applying moral principles to specific policy choices in areas such as the war in Iraq, housing, health care, immigration and others." Are we to conclude that like abortion, which is apparently a political issue, these other questions are of equal moral value when examining how a Catholic should vote?

Well, here is your answer. In #34, the bishops advise: "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position." But they continue in the same paragraph to instruct that, "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."

If you are now totally confused about what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is telling the faithful about the murder of innocent preborn babies and the supremacy of this question versus all others, join the club!

I am disgusted with this statement. By the way, tell me why abortion is mentioned by name 15 times, but war is mentioned 21 times and poverty is mentioned 17 times--and the word "murder" which defines abortion is never mentioned.

As my good friend Phil Lawler wrote, when analyzing the USCCB statement:


Quoting that statement, and citing the list of causes that runs on (and on and on and on) in the USCCB statement, a Catholic voter could attempt to justify support for a candidate who favors unrestricted legal abortion and same-sex marriage, explaining that his favored candidate takes the right stand on such "morally grave" issues as gun control, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, global warming, Medicare and Medicaid, teachers' salaries, or immigration."


May God help us. Pray for our bishops.

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