Peoria, IL, November 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Daniel Jenky has issued firm guidance to Peoria’s Catholic faithful in advance of the November 6 election, in the form of a letter that was read from the pulpit in parishes across the diocese on Sunday.

The letter urges Catholic believers to let their faith inform their civic duties, saying, “no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life.”

He singled out the Obama Administration’s controversial HHS birth control mandate, which would force Catholic employers to fund coverage of contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing pills for women workers, free of charge. “This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent,” he wrote.  “I do not think there has ever been a time more threatening to our religious liberty.”

He compared Catholic politicians and voters who support legalized abortion to the mob that cheered as Jesus Christ was tortured and killed.

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“Nearly two thousand years ago,” he wrote, “after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: ‘Behold your King.’ The mob roared back: “We have no king but Caesar.”

“Today,” he wrote, “Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord.”

The bishop warned Catholics who fail to vote to protect the unborn that they are guilty of grave sin, putting their souls in mortal danger.  “God is not mocked,” he wrote, “and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God’s great mercy in time will give way to God’s perfect judgment in eternity.”

Bishop Jenky is not the first Illinois bishop to warn Catholic voters that their souls are at stake in this election. 

In September, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield compared the Democratic and Republican parties’ platforms, highlighting areas where the Democratic platform prescribes policies Catholics consider gravely immoral. 

“There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils,” Paprocki wrote in the diocesan newspaper.  The bishop added, “… a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”