This morning Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando brought to my attention a letter he just had published in the Orlando Sentinel regarding the priority of abortion in assessing the candidates in the upcoming election. Here is what he wrote:
“Jay Hamburg’s article Wednesday, ‘Evangelical: We Can Back Dems, Obama,’ inaccurately implied that Catholic leaders shared the positive assessment the Rev. Joel Hunter gave the ‘abortion plank’ of the Democratic Party’s platform.
“The bishops have gone on record stating just the opposite. And they are the ones who speak as the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States–and not political operatives for one party or another who happen to be Catholic. In ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,’ the bishops wrote that ‘opposing intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions’ and warned against a ‘moral equivalence’ that would make no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity.
“As we bishops wrote: ‘The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.’”
As Bishop Wenski succinctly notes, some issues must weigh more heavily than others in our deliberations, and at the top of the list must come the protection of innocent human lives. If someone derisively accuses us of “single issue” voting, we should reply that we’re “primary issue” voters, and as long as abortion on demand is the law of the land, that will be the primary issue, which can’t be equated with other important, yet secondary, concerns.