BALTIMORE, Nov. 12, 2012 ( – San Francisco’s new archbishop lamented the false distinction between “social justice” and “moral values” issues at the U.S. Bishops’ annual meeting on Monday as he reflected on the results of last Tuesday’s presidential election.

If Catholics reflected on the Gospel in the light of Catholic social teaching, they would “see the consistency” between issues such as immigration reform and the right to life for the unborn, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said at a press conference, where he was joined by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Cardinal Seán O’Malley.

“They would not make the separation between so-called social justice issues and so-called moral value issues,” said Cordileone. “They would see that they all have to do with social justice, with the common good, and a healthy thriving society.”


Exit polls from the Nov. 6th election indicated that President Obama won the Catholic vote 50-48 against Mitt Romney despite loud concerns from Church leaders over his HHS mandate, which has been challenged in numerous lawsuits from dioceses across the country. Catholics who attend Mass weekly chose Romney over Obama 57-42.

The so-called divide between “social justice” Catholics and “pro-life” Catholics became a big theme in punditry leading up to the election. A survey released Oct. 22nd by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 60% of Catholics wanted a greater focus on “social justice issues” rather than abortion, and only 31% said the opposite.


At the press conference, Cordileone bemoaned the fact that many Catholics “view these issues politically rather than through the lens of the Gospel and through the lens of the common good based on our Catholic social teaching.”

“The challenge for us as bishops, as clergy, is to educate our people in that, form them in seeing through the lens of the Gospel as interpreted through Catholic social teaching so they’ll see the consistency of the Church’s position on these issues,” he said.

Archbishop Lori also emphasized that while the promotion of immigration reform and pro-life policies may be interrelated and consistent, the two issues carry a “different moral weight.”

“It’s never a good idea to pick and choose the Church’s teaching and that includes the Church’s social teaching,” he said.