Bishop Stowe: Neither Party Consistently Defends Life

Bishop John Stowe writes:

Many prominent Catholics, including clerics, have taken to social media and other outlets to denounce those who would vote for one or the other party. Some seem to want to make the moral decision for everyone else and have proclaimed that voting for a particular candidate is either a matter of serious sin or outside the realm of possibility for “real” Catholics. None of this is consistent with the teaching of the church nor the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops releases in advance of each presidential election cycle.

There is no political party that fully embraces Catholic teaching. The church insists on its right to a voice in the public square to argue how its teachings are aimed toward the common good and therefore promote good public policy. There is no current candidate who embraces the fullness of Catholic teaching. It is well known that the Catholic candidate, Joe Biden, supports upholding Roe v. Wade and thus the legality of abortion. This is clearly in opposition to the Catholic Church’s teaching and expectations for its members in public office. It is also well known that the current president has spoken and acted in opposition to many life issues as described by Pope Francis, who affirms the continuous teaching of the church on abortion and insists that defense of the unborn needs to be “clear, firm and passionate.” The pope says further, “equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”

Just this week, we have learned that 545 children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border cannot be reunited despite court orders to do so because the parents cannot be located. The Trump administration has recently resumed federal executions, also against the teaching of the Catholic Church. The president’s refusal to renounce white supremacists, the derogatory language he has used against women, people of color, and the handicapped are all in opposition to the church’s teaching about the dignity of the human person. The refusal to admit asylum seekers, seriously diminishing the number of refugees admitted to the country and abusing the human rights of those in immigration custody are all acts that go against Catholic teaching.