The U.S. Catholic Bishops have explicitly stated that politicans who oppose the Catholic teaching on abortion do not deserve the vote of Catholics in an election, regardless of their views on any other issue. This conclusion is derived from their document dealing with the principles of voting, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It is worth noting a report from The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), that Bishop George Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, carried out this policy by asking Mercy College to disinvite a state politican, Rep. Robert Hagan, because of his views on abortion.
The CNS posting, Catholic College Disinvites Pro-Abortion Rights Pol at Request of Bishop, cited the fact that Bishop Murry noted Hagan’s many efforts to support the Catholic teachings on social justice, but that his position on abortion is at odds with the Catholic Church and thus disqualify him from receiving an honor at a Catholic college.
Bishop Murry’s statement noted,
“While I respect and appreciate many of the social justice positions taken by Representative Hagan, it remains a fact that he also has consistently voted for pro-abortion legislation, policies and funding. Abortion extinguishes an unborn human life. It is an intrinsically evil action which the Catholic Church has condemned for centuries.
As Catholics, we must in good conscience oppose Representative Hagan’s position in support of abortion. Therefore, I asked the Mercy School of Nursing, a Catholic sponsored institution, to rescind their invitation to Representative Hagan to speak at the Nursing School graduation.
In their document, Faithful Citizenship, the American Bishops state that,
As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support. (§ 42)
In a previous article, I wrote that in the 2008 presidential elecions, while 52% of the American electorate voted for President Obama, he received fifty-four percent of the Catholic vote. A clear disconnect existed then between the Faithful Citizenship instruction on conscience and the Catholic electorate. That disconnect is exacerbated by writers who report only a portion of Faithful Citizenship, or by those Catholics who have influence in the public square, but who avoid or alter the teaching to maintain a façade of non-partisanship.
Bishop Murry’s actions carried out the principles embodied in ”Faithful Citizenship.” It is not easy to take what may appear to be an unpopular stand, but as CNS reported, Hagan later tweeted
…“let’s be clear, the bishop is just doing his job.”
Americans are watching their religious freedoms being dismantled by an Administration that has repeatedly shown that it has no respect the dignity of the human person. Actions by Bishop Murry show clearly that politicans can’t hide behind their many votes on social justice issues in order to outweigh their pro-abortion position. Such a position disqualifies such individuals from speaking at Catholic forums and also disqualifies Catholics from voting for them.