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San Diego bishop Robert McElroy.

SAN DIEGO, October 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego recently gave an interview in which he claimed, “To say abortion is the pre-eminent issue in a particular political season is to reduce the common good, in effect, to one issue. And that’s a distortion of Catholic teaching.”

“My concern [is] that when you say abortion is the pre-eminent issue we face as a nation, you are setting up an election choice,” said McElroy.

Theology professor Randall Smith, in an article from The Catholic Thing, compared Bishop McElroy’s refusal to decisively condemn pro-abortion policy and politicians to the complicity of German bishops who refused to condemn the Nazi regime.

Bishop McElroy explained his rejection of the “pre-eminence” of abortion as a voting issue to Sebastian Gomes of “Voting Catholic,” a “podcast from America Media that helps U.S. Catholics discern their vote in the upcoming presidential election.” Bishop McElroy commented on the USCCB statement: “The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself,” in the document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility.

Bishop McElroy described abortion as “one of several” pre-eminent issues to consider when voting, entreating Catholics to “read the whole document” of the USCCB.

“[It tells you to] look at climate change, which threatens to end the whole of humanity. Look at the divisions we have in our nation now, in terms of race and class, the undocumented. If someone reads through that with an open heart and wrestles with God, then that’s a great thing. But don’t pick one sentence out,” said Bishop McElroy.

He opposed the idea that abortion is “the primary moral issue” because “the issue of life is the foundation of the house of the common good.”

Bishop McElroy countered: “But I would say this: The house itself and the foundation rest on the earth, and the earth is at stake in climate change and in the care for creation. And so you don’t have a house and you don’t have a foundation if you don’t have the earth [or] a habitable place for our humanity.”

“When you are voting for candidates, you have to ask yourself in this particular moment, who is going to be better at achieving the common good? Your judgment is temporary,” said Bishop McElroy.

In his article “On the Nature of Complicity,” Randall Smith compared the gravity of abortion policy to the murderous policy of Nazi Germany.

He mentioned the 1933 Reichskonkordat between the Holy See and the German government, in which “Church leaders pledged to refrain from speaking out on issues not directly related to the Church.” Smith noted that last May, in a twenty-three-page public report, Germany’s Council of Catholic Bishops “admitted ‘complicity’ by their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the rise of Nazi regime and its mistreatment of Jews.”

“In eighty or ninety years, will future U.S. bishops be submitting a similar document of their own, confessing the ‘complicity’ of their predecessors who did not do enough to oppose the abortion regime?”

“Who, in retrospect, would not look back in shame at a German bishop who called questioning the Catholic commitments of Catholic Nazi leaders ‘offensive because they constitute an assault on the meaning of what it is to be Catholic’? Because ‘being Catholic means loving the Church; being Catholic means participating in the sacramental life of the church; being a Catholic means trying to transform the world by the light of the Gospel’?”

“And yet those are the words of our own Bishop McElroy of San Diego about those who question Joe Biden’s Catholicism.”

“And we transform the world in the light of the Gospel how?  Is it not by opposing the killing of innocent human beings?”