The U.S. Bishops have issued their strongest condemnation yet of pro-abortion views with their “Faithful Citizenship” document issued yesterday. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston also has added his disapproval of pro-abortion candidates in comments to the Boston Globe saying that the support of Catholics for these politicians “borders on scandal”.
Cardinal O'Malley voiced a sentiment that the bishops’ latest citizenship document includes, namely that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers.
Noting that many Catholics traditionally support Democrats, O’Malley reamed the Democratic Party for being “extremely insensitive to the church's position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues.”
When the cardinal was asked about the many voters who support Democrats who are in favor of abortion, O'Malley said, "I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I'm concerned."
This near-scandal has caused Cardinal O’Malley to challenge his flock about their choices, but his admonitions have only resulted in confused reactions from them. "[W]hen I challenge people about this, they say, 'Well, bishop, we're not supporting [abortion],' " he said. "I think there's a need for people to very actively dissociate themselves from those unacceptable positions, and I think if they did that, then the party would have to change."
The vast majority of the U.S. Bishops seem to agree with Cardinal O’Malley since a full 98% of them approved the “Faithful Citizenship” document yesterday.
The statement goes beyond previous ones by explicitly declaring abortion, cloning, and embryonic research to be "intrinsically evil" and warning that support for such immoral acts could endanger a Catholic voter's salvation.
This time the bishops also took the further step of pointing out that abortion or any other act which destroys life is a more serious issue than any other, saying, “[t]he direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many."
In comments to Boston Globe reporter Michael Paulson, Cardinal O’Malley said, "In the past, there was always the fear that we were considering sort of the smorgasbord of issues, but without any prioritizing, or giving the impression that all issues are of equal value, and I think the emphasis on trying to help people form conscience is very, very important," he said. "The church is not trying to impose Catholic doctrine on the world, but we are trying to invite our people to take seriously their obligation to vote in a way that respects the moral law, the natural law, and takes into account the common good, care for the poor, and particularly the gospel of life, which is always the center of Catholic social teaching."