Catholic Bishops Urge Voters to Support Anti-Abortion Candidates in November

Several high-ranking leaders in the Catholic Church have recently said that the obligation to vote for a candidate who opposes abortion rights is a priority over all other issues in the upcoming presidential election. Some, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Colorado, have declared that voting for a pro-choice politician is a sin, and must be confessed before receiving communion. Archbishop Chaput went so far as to compare voting for a pro-choice candidate to “cooperating in evil” in an interview with the New York Times. Catholic leaders have been particularly motivated to speak out this election year, knowing that the next president could have the power to alter the slight pro-choice majority on the US Supreme Court, which could lead to the overturn of Roe v Wade. Last June, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops drafted and approved with a vote of 183-6 a statement that Catholic politicians are obligated to speak out against legalized abortion. The statement also said the decision to deny communion to politicians who do support reproductive rights should be left up to local bishops. Bishop Michael Sheridan from Colorado went as far as to say that communion should also be denied to Catholics who vote for any politician who supports not only reproductive rights, but also same-sex marriage, stem cell research, or euthanasia, according to the Los Angeles Times. Anti-abortion groups such as the National Right to Life Committee and the American Life League have been urging Catholic leadership to deny communion to abortion rights supporters for years. Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice, “For the first time, it has been asserted that how you vote on legislation is a sin. That’s big stuff in Catholic terms.” Kissling doubts that efforts by Catholic Bishops will have any effect on pro-choice Catholic politicians, instead making “the bishops increasingly irrelevant to the moral struggle of ordinary Catholic people. And it will not prevent a single abortion,” Kissling continued. The New York Times reports that some bishops and liberal Catholics have noted the absence of topics such as the death penalty, war, poverty, immigration, and the environment from discussions of candidate support. DONATE to protect the right to a safe, legal abortion


Catholics for a Free Choice; New York Times 10/12/04; Los Angeles Times 6/19/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 5/20/04, 6/25/04

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