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Catholic bishop: Abortion is a ‘moral evil’ that is ‘never accepted under any circumstances’

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LINCOLN, Nebraska, November 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church has unmistakably defined abortion as a moral evil, a Nebraska bishop recently said, and it is unacceptable under any circumstance.

Explaining the difference between matters falling under prudential judgment and the moral absolute of abortion, Lincoln Bishop James Conley said the Church’s teaching on abortion was one to which a Catholic must assent.

“Abortion has clearly been defined by the church as a moral evil,” Bishop Conley said. “which is never accepted under any circumstances or any justification.”

The comment came in a discussion on Nebraska Referendum 426 during an October 26 radio interview. The referendum would eliminate Nebraska’s death penalty and change the maximum penalty for first degree murder to life imprisonment.

Bishop Conley clarified in the interview that capital punishment was unnecessary, because the common good could be protected and society kept safe through the penal system and prisons, and without resorting to capital punishment.

There doesn’t seem to be a situation that would justify the death penalty, he said in an explanation for the Church’s opposition to capital punishment. He went on to say that if a Catholic has thought it through and prayed about it, “they can still be a Catholic in good standing and not go along with the bishops on this issue.”

This is unlike abortion, Bishop Conley said, which is “one of those teachings a Catholic has to accept.”

Bishop Conley also recently called abortion an attack on human life.

“From Revelation and the Church’s teaching, we who are believers know what human life is. And that’s not just our own definition of human life,” he told LifeSiteNews at the Catholic Medical Association’s (CMA) 85th annual conference. “It’s really … what human life is for everyone, because there’s only one truth. We can’t all be right … human life is a gift from God, created in His image and likeness, and inherently possessing dignity and sanctity. That’s it.”

Bishop Conley’s recent defense of abortion as a non-negotiable issue for Catholics is in keeping with the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI.

In the 2004 document Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) wrote that “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. … There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

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