Three more bishops say abortion is ‘preeminent issue’ in upcoming election
October 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Three more U.S. bishops have added their voices to the growing number of members of the Catholic hierarchy who say abortion is the preeminent issue for voters to consider in the upcoming election.
Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Archdiocese of St. Louis urged Catholics to remember that “abortion is the pre-eminent moral issue of our time, and if you don’t struggle to justify voting for a candidate whose record or policy would favor or even expand abortion, then you probably aren’t forming a Catholic conscience in preparation to vote.”
In his regular column in the St. Louis Review, Rozanski on October 1 presented a brief summary of Catholic social teaching, in view of the election next month. Noting that he could not tell anyone how to vote, the archbishop presented guidance on how Catholics should prepare their conscience when voting.
Rozanski referred his readers to the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” prepared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In it, the bishops state, “Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed.”
The opening letter of that same document clearly states the position of the Catholic Church: “The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”
Archbishop Rozanski mentioned that no matter the outcome of the election, the primary purpose of Catholics is to spread the faith. “The day after the election our primary mission will be the same: to proclaim and give witness to the Gospel in all its fullness,” he wrote.
“The winners will make some parts of that easier, and some parts incredibly hard,” he added.
Warning that society is rejecting traditional moral values, Rozanski stated that “Our culture is drifting ever farther from the Gospel — and by that very fact becoming more and more in need of it.”
Rozanski went on to mention issues of “race, immigration and the environment,” which he said should not be “dismissed or ignored.”
Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, issued a letter to his diocese on September 14, in which he argued the state “has a duty to protect what God has already bestowed upon us as inalienable rights so that all citizens can flourish.”
The letter advises, “A Catholic voter would do well to weigh a candidate’s position on each of these essential God-given rights that government has a duty to protect, beginning with the right to life.”
Noting the fact that abortion is the pre-eminent issue, the bishop further warns of the dangers of “destructive research on human embryos, euthanasia and assisted suicide,” as well as the importance of issues such as “the appointment of judges and Supreme Court Justices and conscience rights.”
Johnston explicitly mentioned Planned Parenthood, asking voters to know each party’s position with regard to funding the abortion provider.
Additionally, he recommended to consider religious liberty when voting, including the freedom of churches to operate according to their beliefs without penalty. Johnston urged voters to “study prayerfully” the different parties, so as to form their consciences before voting.
Like Archbishop Rozanski, Johnston emphasized, “Our salvation does not lie in earthly political power or party. The Church exists to evangelize and to call our fallen world to conversion, to point us to our true and lasting home which lies beyond this world.”
Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on September 22 also issued a letter, in which he told voters that it was “imperative” to consider the “issues of abortion and infanticide” when voting.
Zubik stated that “respect for life IS the issue,” but also that “it is a continuum of other issues, many issues, that flow from the beginning of life at the moment of conception.” He explicitly said that “from our Catholic perspective it is morally unacceptable to vote for a candidate with the specific intent in support of something which is evil, i.e. abortion, racism, etc.”
Democratic presidential candiate Joe Biden recently reaffirmed his intention of passing “legislation making Roe the law of the land,” should the Supreme Court overturn the 1973 decision imposing abortion on demand across the country.
In response to Biden’s statement, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Wow. Joe Biden just took a more Liberal position on Roe v. Wade than Elizabeth Warren at her highest.” Warren’s May 2019 plan to strengthen pro-abortion laws included such measures as creating “federal, statutory rights that parallel the constitutional right in Roe v. Wade,” passing “federal laws to pre-empt state efforts that functionally limit access to reproductive health care,” and guaranteeing abortion in all health care coverage.