Once upon a time some Catholics who have heard all their lives that abortion is an intrinsic evil and must be opposed, took a look at Clinton and Kaine ticket and thought, “There’s no way I can vote for them. They’re both abortion extremists.”
They looked at the Trump/Pence ticket and, though they didn’t like some things about Trump’s manner and occasional rudeness, these Catholics were impressed by his choice of Supreme Court Justices, his defense of the Hyde Amendment, his promise to defund Planned Parenthood, and his promise to sign the “Pain Capable Infant Protection Act.”
The choice seemed pretty simple to these Catholics. But when they mentioned it to their priest, he replied, “Well, there are other factors to consider you know, immigration for one, Trump wants to build a wall, that’s deplorable!”
These Catholics were confused, why would Father brush aside the abortion issue and talk about immigration and the wall. They actually had been quite worried about uncontrolled immigration for a long time, especially with the rise of ISIS, and thought Trump might be a bit extreme but they wanted the border made secure.
Father handed them a copy of the Bishop’s guide to political participation, “Forming Consciences to Faithful Citizenship.” These Catholics tried to read the bishop’s document, but it was very long and complicated.
So they flipped to the section on abortion where they expected to verify what they had always been taught about the importance of opposition abortion in both private and public life. When were really perplexed by one sentence, in particular, “A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position” (34 Emphasis added).
These Catholics looked at each other, and one asked, “But would my vote for Clinton and Kaine help them kill more babies? Does it really matter whether I intend to support their killing?”
Another Catholic spoke up, saying, “Am I missing something or aren’t the Bishops telling us that we can vote for abortion supporters if we don’t agree with them on that issue?” None of the Catholics could interpret it any other way.
They decided to talk to some pro-life leaders in the parish about their confusion. These Catholic leaders showed them the Bishop’s Pastoral Letter, “Living the Gospel of Life,” which said,
“As Americans, as Catholics and as pastors of our people, we write therefore today to call our fellow citizens back to our country’s founding principles, and most especially to renew our national respect for the rights of those who are unborn, weak, disabled and terminally ill. Real freedom rests on the inviolability of every person as a child of God. The inherent value of human life, at every stage and in every circumstance, is not a sectarian issue any more than the Declaration of Independence is a sectarian creed” (6 Emphasis added).
Now these Catholics were really confused. They explained to the pro-life leaders what Father had said and what they had read in “Faithful Citizenship.” The pro-life leaders told them that they were frustrated too. Very few bishops had proclaimed the Gospel of Life in the months prior to the election, and now it was just over a month away.
“What’s going on?” they all asked themselves.
Then one of them said, “We can’t be wrong. Didn’t the Church just canonize the greatest defender of life in the past century, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta? Remember when she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast when Bill Clinton was president, and how he and Hillary refused to clap after her speech?”
Then, one of the ladies present said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with so many of the bishops and priests, but I know what Saint Mother Teresa would do, and would want us to do – there is no doubt about that.” Everyone nodded their head in agreement, and several said, “Amen.”
These Catholics decided to talk about the example of Saint Mother Teresa between now and the election and not worry about the silence of the bishops or what “Faithful Citizenship” had to say. And they would carry with them a card with the words she spoke to the Clintons at the Prayer Breakfast:
“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” (Emphasis added)