WHEELING, West Virginia, October 22, 2004 ( – The bishop of Wheeling-Charleston issued a pastoral letter Wednesday in anticipation of the November presidential election, warning parishioners of his diocese that “abortion is the greatest moral evil of our age.”“As the deliberate killing of an innocent human being, there is ‘no circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever’ that can justify or excuse abortion,” Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt wrote, quoting from Pope John Paul II’s document, Evangelium vitae. “It is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”“All evils are not equal,” he continued. “Abortion, representing as it does an attack on the most innocent of all human life and the most sacred of all human relationships, is so grave and profound an evil that it calls all men and women of good will to action.”  Bishop Schmitt described his remorse for not promoting greater pro-life action among his clergy: “I began informally asking members of the laity whether their pastors regularly preach the Gospel of Life and the Church’s opposition to abortion. Many told me that even on Respect Life Sunday this year (October 3, 2004), they had not heard a single word from the pulpit.”  In a thinly-veiled reference to Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, Bishop Schmitt said: “. . . I discovered that most Catholic legislators are no different from others in their lack of support for Pro-Life legislation; in fact, some Catholic legislators vote against any attempt to limit abortion on demand, and the culture of death it has created, with such regularity as to have a perfect record of opposition to this most innocent of all human life.”“If . . . we choose to stand idly by while abortion continues, we risk the fate of the rich man who refused to lift a single finger to help the starving Lazarus,” Bishop Schmitt warned. ” [A] Catholic who deliberately votes for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion is guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.”  Bishop Schmitt’s letter will be circulated to all 82,000 parishioners of his diocese.  Contact Bishop Schmitt at:  E-Mail: [email protected] Phone: 304-233-0880, ext. 228   tv


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