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Washington's Cardinal Donald Wuerl processes in for Mass at a March for Life Youth Rally, 2015.Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, DC, January 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The cardinal archbishop of Washington, DC, has highlighted abortion as the most pressing issue for the 2016 US elections, and warned that the acceptance of rampant slaughter through abortion is a major cause of further violence in America.

“I think it remains the fundamental basic issue,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl said when asked how the right to life should be approached as an issue in the 2016 campaign.

The cardinal also said that the disrespect for life in our nation has led to a nonchalant regard for violence. “One reason, it strikes me, one reason why we are so casual in our country with violence,” he said, “we see violence exercised with such ease, such disrespect for human life.”

In the interview with Newsmax on Monday, the cardinal went on to spell out how the pro-abortion mindset disregards the humanity of the unborn child. “It's all right to kill as long as the person is inconvenient to you and fits into a certain category,” he stated. “This category is nine months or less.”

The prevalence of violence in U.S. society parallels abortion, the cardinal continued. “I think what we have done is create a mentality that so deprecates the value of life, that all these other things follow very easily,” he said.

And he chided the idea that one would expect civility with the general sanctioning of abortion, stating, “You can't say to someone, a life has only the value you give it and expect that they're not going to apply that principle in areas where you might differ.”

While Cardinal Wuerl has openly opposed the Code of Canon Law’s requirement that ministers deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians, in recent months he has spoken out about upholding Catholic principles, penning a December column where he explained how it had been the Church’s duty to terminate a part time music minister recently for his having entered into a same-sex “marriage.”

“When a person involved in ministerial activity offers a counter-witness to Catholic teaching by words or public conduct, however earnest they may be, experience shows that it can lead people away from the truth and otherwise have an adverse effect on our mission,” the cardinal. “The Church not only must be free to then take corrective steps, it has an obligation in charity and truth to do so.”

The cardinal also released a pastoral letter last summer, saying strong Catholic identity was needed in the face of a “tsunami of secularism.”