As if anyone needed any further proof that the U.S. Catholic bishops are political hacks for the GOP, their collective silence this past week after a Romney ad stated the candidate thinks “abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother’s life” and “doesn’t oppose contraception at all” should end the discussion.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. told his flock in September that voting for the “Democratic Party platform’s support for intrinsic evils” like abortion and contraception “makes a voter ‘morally complicit’ and places the eternal salvation of his or her soul in ‘serious jeopardy.’”
In August, Baltimore archbishop William Lori advised Catholic voters, “The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person.”
By the way, birth control (although considered immoral) wasn’t on their list of “instrinsic evils” until the bishops decided this presidential election year to oppose the Obamacare mandate that health insurers provide that coverage, ignoring the fact that 28 states already had the same mandate, some for more than a decade.
So earlier this year, the U.S. bishops developed a set of church bulletin inserts and a website so that parishioners would be aware that contraception was “intrinsically evil” just like abortion. In addition, dioceses across the country carried articles in their newspapers and websites reminding Catholics that “the illicitness of contraception is an infallible doctrine” or some similar dire warning.
Perhaps some of you may remember the last two presidential elections.
In 2004, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput stated: “The Church sees abortion as the foundational issue of our time….Candidates who publicly ignore Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life are offering a dishonest public witness….And real Catholics should vote accordingly.” Newark Archbishop John Myers: “On this grave issue [abortion], public officials cannot hold themselves excused from their duties….I ask and urge that Catholic voters and Catholics in public life carefully consider their position if they find themselves in opposition to Church teaching in these matters.”
In 2008, Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of St. Louis, gave an interview in the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, calling the Democrats the “Party of Death” because the party platform called for abortion to remain legal. Archbishop Chaput, addressing the group Roman Catholics for Obama warned them that they “need a compelling proportionate reason to justify [their support for Obama.] What is a ‘proportionate’ reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life.”
It’s not that the bishops can’t react immediately when they want to. The morning after this past Vice Presidential debate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded by challenging Biden’s statement regarding the HHS mandate on health insurance coverage for contraception on a technicality.
So their omissions of condemnation for Romney’s positions on abortion and contraception can only be interpreted as their “moral” indignation depending upon whether the candidate is a Republican or Democrat.
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