Archbishop Javier del Rio Alba clarified his position that Peruvian Catholics should not vote for candidates who back abortion.
“As Catholics, we can never support a candidate that proposes the killing of defenseless children and who attacks the common good of society by attacking the institution of marriage,” the archbishop said in a Feb. 16 interview with ACI Prensa.
He explained that while voting for a pro-abortion candidate is a grave offense, it does not incur the automatic excommunication that participating in an abortion does.
“We bishops do not get involved in politics,” the archbishop continued, “but the doctrine of the Church does require we teach on matters of faith and morals.”
Archbishop Rio Alba has been the target of criticism since his Feb. 13 homily in which he said, “Catholics can never cast their vote for a candidate who by word or deed says he will support abortion.” Critics charged he was referring to presidential candidate Alejandro Toledo, who has brought the issue of legalized abortion into the presidential campaign.
The archbishop said that last Sunday’s Gospel was explicit about the commandment not to kill, and that therefore it was important to address this “very relevant” issue.
In his interview, Archbishop Rio Alba exhorted Catholics to think through their votes and study both the “concrete proposals and the character” of those running for office. Only after considering all of these factors together should Catholics decide how to vote.
In recent days presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski underscored that his political party “does not believe in abortion, period.”
Alejandro Toledo, who currently leads in the polls, said he was open to the legalization of abortion. “Nobody should allow a human being to be born under forced circumstances,” he said.
Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, said she does not support abortion. “I am a woman and a mother,” she said, adding that she does support “therapeutic” abortion.
Luis Castaneda, currently third in the polls, said he does not support abortion, “except for therapeutic reasons.”