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Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila

DENVER, Colorado, October 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—Catholics “in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion” and the Democratic party “platform is aggressively pro-abortion,” the Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila wrote in a column lambasting abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and hostile attacks on religious freedom.

Describing a dinner party conversation he had with other Catholics, Aquila said he shared his “aversion for both candidates” but said Catholics “need to reflect on the platforms of both parties, with an emphasis on the human life issues.”

“This is the most important guidance I can give: allow your ongoing personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church to guide your political decisions,” Aquila said. “I say this because we believe that the truth about ourselves and the world we live in is revealed in and through him. Our society suffers and has suffered for quite some time because too few people live an integrated life – one that does not divide ‘the personal’ from ‘the public.’”

The “most important” change Catholics should note in the party platforms this year is that the Democratic Party platform calls for the Hyde Amendment, which for 40 years has prohibited taxpayer money from being used for abortion, Aquila instructed. “The [Democratic] platform is aggressively pro-abortion, not only in funding matters, but in the appointment of only those judges who will support abortion and the repealing of the Helms Amendment, which prevents the U.S. from supporting abortion availability overseas,” he continued. “Conversely, the Republican party platform is supportive of the Hyde Amendment and just this year strengthened its support for life by calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, banning dismemberment abortion and opposing assisted suicide.”

‘The further we move away from Jesus Christ and his teachings, the more will our churches empty’

Aquila said some of his fellow dinner guests were practicing Catholics but unaware of the HHS contraception and abortion mandate, which seeks to force religious employers to violate their consciences by directly cooperating with the provision of contraceptives and life-ending drugs.

“Catholic voters must make themselves aware of where the parties stand on these essential issues,” Aquila wrote. “The right to life is the most important and fundamental right, since life is necessary for any of the other rights to matter. There are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, but the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching.”

Aquila warned, “the future of our society depends on how we protect” human life “from the moment of conception until natural death. … If we don’t, eventually we will go the way of Rome and Greece and other great civilizations that have risen and fallen.”

It would be impossible for the Catholic Church to change its teaching on abortion, same-sex unions, and euthanasia, Aquila wrote, even though people “both in politics and in the Church” have called for this.

“In faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and to Sacred Tradition, the Church cannot change her teaching on these issues without denying Christ,” the archbishop explained. “She would cut herself from the vine and only wither away, as promised by Christ. The further we move away from Jesus Christ and his teachings, the more will our churches empty.”

The HHS mandate, President Obama’s transgender mandate in schools, and the possibility of physician-assisted suicide and federally-funded abortion coming to Colorado prove “we are witnessing the dictatorship of relativism and the erosion of true freedom,” Aquila wrote.

“If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay,” Aquila concluded. But, he said, “look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor. … Every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process” by voting. “For many, the presidential election will involve a choice between the lesser of two evils.”

Aquila also said all Catholics are obligated to vote “no” on Colorado’s assisted suicide ballot initiative, Proposition 106. He has previously spoken out against doctor-assisted suicide and promised to continue to do so.