IRVINE, California, NOV. 4, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The top priority for Catholics as they head to the polls today in the United States should be the issue of life, says the bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri.
Bishop Robert Finn said this Monday on the Hugh Hewitt Show, hosted by conservative commentator and law professor Hugh Hewitt.
“Life issues, particularly the protection of unborn children against the crime of abortion, has to be our greatest priority,” the bishop told the national audience. “This is an ongoing slaughter of 4,000 children every single day for the last 35 years, and if we don’t do anything about it, we bear a lot of responsibility.
“If we support and promote persons who have pledged to extend it and intensify the slaughter, then we bear a great responsibility with them.”
Bishop Finn urged Catholics to not support the Freedom Of Choice Act, which he said would remove “all reasonable limitations” to abortions.
“So many Americans say they want limitations on abortion,” he explained. “The Freedom Of Choice Act would remove every single limitation that’s been put in place by well-meaning folks for the last 35 years — parental notification, mandatory waiting periods, counseling, the use of ultrasounds, and not to speak of the fact that taxpayers will have to pay for abortions, and also the conscious clauses will be removed from individual health care workers, or even institutions.
“So you can’t support a person who wants to go to complete full-scale war against the unborn.”
Hewitt asked Bishop Finn if Catholics could consider a candidate who supports eliminating the root causes of abortion, such as poverty, while supporting the legalization of abortion. “The foundation of abortion is not poverty,” the bishop responded. “The poor don’t necessarily hate their children and desire to get rid of them or don’t want them anymore than the rich.”
“The real root of abortion in our country,” he continued, “is this total disregard and numbness about the value of human life. It’s the idolatry of self and selfish convenience. It’s the total neglect of personal responsibility. These are the things that are at the root of abortion, not just poverty.”
Bishop Finn also said he didn’t understand the rationale in supporting a candidate who, on one hand, wants to reduce the number of abortions by eliminating poverty, and then on the other hand seeks to remove limitations on abortions, “which are measurable at having reduced abortions by 125,000 a year through parental notifications and the like.”
“They can’t be serious,” he said. “They can’t be serious that voting for someone who’s going to throw some more money at the poor is going to reduce abortion.
“What they’re looking for is a way to salve their conscience, and give them a rationalization that will help them sleep tomorrow after they vote.”
Bishop Finn urged Catholics “to do what they can to support human life,” and to not use their vote to set back the battle against abortion.
“Study what the candidates stand for,” he counseled. “But also study what the Church teaches. The teaching is exceedingly clear. Don’t follow a false shepherd.
“Read it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read it in the statements of our Holy Father. And they’re nonpartisan. They’re not even Americans. But again and again, they hold up for us the values of life.
“And then pray for the fortitude on the determination to exercise this important act of patriotism in a way that expresses a virtue and a value, rather than hides behind a party.”
Hewitt asked if a voter could cast his ballot in favor of a candidate supporting abortion rights.
Bishop Finn responded: “It’s not a matter of public action, so it’s not the same scandal as a public official who places, a legislator who places, a public vote in support of abortion.
“But no, […] there’s absolutely no doubt about it that if you agree with the right of abortion, you shouldn’t be; you’re in grave sin. You shouldn’t be receiving the sacraments.”