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This is Part 1 of a 4-Part series on Catholics and the 2016 election:
Part 2 – Fr. Pavone on what Catholic voting says about the state of the Church in America
Part 3 – Fr. Pavone on why Catholics can’t sit out the election 
Part 4 – How churches are ‘more free to speak’ about elections than they think

September 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In the 2016 presidential election, there is “a fundamental divergence not only of the candidates but of the parties” when it comes to the foundational issue of the right to life, Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavone told LifeSiteNews.

“There are certain positions that a public official takes which disqualify them from public office,” Pavone said. “Abortion is a disqualifying position. To be in support of the killing of innocent children disqualifies you. It doesn’t matter how good you are on other issues. It really doesn’t matter because you have undermined even your position on those other issues.”

“An issue is an issue in the first place only because life matters,” the national pro-life activist said. “If life doesn’t matter, you don’t have any issues. So poverty is important because it’s the life of the poor person that matters. Unemployment is important for the same reason. Protecting people from terrorism is important because people have a right to live. It all comes down to the right to life.”

“If a candidate came along and said, ‘I support terrorism, I think the terrorists have a right to do what they did,’ do we really think a voter would say, ‘Well, I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your healthcare plan? What’s your education plan?’” Pavone asked.

Pavone said abortion “is no different morally than killing the innocent by terrorism” even though different instruments are used to kill people of different ages. “You’ve killed an innocent human life intentionally, deliberately,” he said. “There is no way to tolerate that in public life.”

The priest pointed Catholics to Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”) and the U.S. bishops’ document Living the Gospel of Life, both of which label the right to life the foundational issue.

Whether a candidate supports abortion “in and of itself is determinative of a person’s vote,” Pavone said.

This is part one of a series on Catholics and the 2016 election.