Loading
Bishop shows up unannounced at election forum, defends Church’s stance on abortion
Bishop Martino: "This is madness people."
Bishop Joseph Martino
Bishop Joseph Martino

.- An election forum at a Pennsylvania parish that took place last Sunday was organized to allow Catholics the opportunity to defend their support for McCain and Obama.  However, the forum took a surprising turn when an unexpected guest showed up to guide his flock, the Bishop of Scranton, Joseph F. Martino.

The forum, which took place at St. John’s Catholic Church in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was underway when the bishop arrived.  Four panel members were sharing their perspectives on the presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, some pledging to vote for the Republican, others for the Democrat.

One of the panelists, Sister Margaret Gannon of Marywood University cited statements from “Faithful Citizenship” a document on voting released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  She noted that “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. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity. ”

After Sr. Gannon spoke, the bishop took the floor.  Bill Genello, a spokesman for the Diocese of Scranton told the Wayne Independent that when Bishop Martino arrived, his intention was to listen “to the presenters and how they might discuss Catholic teaching.”

However, he continued, “Certain groups and individuals have used their own erroneous interpretations of Church documents, particularly the U.S. Bishops’ statement on Faithful Citizenship, to justify their political positions and to contradict the Church’s actual teaching on the centrality of abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.”

When the bishop heard the speakers using the bishops’ statement to justify their choice for president, he reminded the audience that those “groups and individuals who make statements about Catholic teaching do not speak with the same authority or authenticity as their bishop.”

The prelate then clarified his authority as bishop and the Church’s teachings on abortion as an election issue.  

“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” said Martino according to the Wayne Independent.  “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.”

“The only relevant document ... is my letter,” he continued, “There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.”

The letter he referred to was a pastoral letter to his entire diocese that was published in the first week of October. In his message, Bishop Martino states that a candidate’s abortion stance is a major voting issue that supersedes all others due to its grave moral consequences.

He wrote: “To begin, laws that protect abortion constitute injustice of the worst kind. They rest on several false claims including that there is no certainty regarding when life begins, that there is no certainty about when a fetus becomes a person, and that some human beings may be killed to advance the interests or convenience of others.”

“Another argument goes like this: ‘As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.’ This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. ... National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.”

He also touched on just war.  “Even the Church’s just war theory has moral force because it is grounded in the principle that innocent human life must be protected and defended. Now, a person may, in good faith, misapply just war criteria leading him to mistakenly believe that an unjust war is just, but he or she still knows that innocent human life may not be harmed on purpose. A person who supports permissive abortion laws, however, rejects the truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed. This profound moral failure runs deeper and is more corrupting of the individual, and of the society, than any error in applying just war criteria to particular cases.” 

“No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people,” he said, noting that he no longer supports the Democratic Party.  “This is madness people.”

When the prelate concluded his speech, most audience members gave him a standing ovation, while others were upset that the leader of the diocese made an appearance. Bishop Martino left the event shortly after making his remarks.

Organizers of the event had mixed emotions regarding the bishop’s appearance. 

Father Martin Boylan, pastor of St. John’s said that they “were very careful not to endorse anyone,” and that the forum was meant to be “a political slash editorial forum about the presidential election.”

He also explained that the state church guidelines were “carefully followed” for the event.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
30

Liturgical Calendar

August 30, 2014

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:14-30

Gospel
Date
08/30/14
08/29/14
08/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 1: 26-31
Gospel:: Mt 25: 14-30

Saint of the Day

St. Jeanne Jugan »

Saint
Date
08/30/14
08/28/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 25:14-30

Homily
Date
08/30/14
08/29/14
08/28/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: