Hillary Clinton’s campaign has really been struggling lately when it comes to Catholics. It all started with the emails released by WikiLeaks that showed a number of Clinton staffers mocking Catholics and revealing their plans to undermine Catholic teaching. That may have been at least in part responsible for a poll out this week showing Clinton down 13 points to Donald Trump among Catholic voters.
Now, as Election Day nears, a number of Catholic bishops appear to be taking implicit — if not overt — swipes at Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Just take, for example, a recent statement to Virginia Catholics from two of the state’s bishops, Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo. Loverde and DiLorenzo mince no words when it comes to addressing two erroneous positions which have been advanced by Kaine during the campaign: the idea that one can be personally opposed to abortion while still supporting its legality and the idea that the Church can change its teaching on marriage. The bishops forcefully reject both these “areas of confusion,” and it is difficult not to read in this a rebuke of Kaine also:
The first area of confusion is that one can be “personally” opposed to abortion, yet continue to publicly support laws which allow it. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of both natural law and Church teaching. The common good and Christian charity compel us to work toward overturning – not supporting or acquiescing to – all unjust laws. The basic principle of equality affirms that every human being has an equal right to life. Abortion denies this right to an entire class of human beings, and therefore permitting it is gravely unjust and fundamentally at odds with the foundational concept of equality. Indeed, “It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.” (FC, No. 22)
The second area of confusion relates to the institution of marriage. In response to claims that this institution can be redefined, or that even the Church could one day change its teaching on marriage, we re-affirm that marriage is and can only ever be the union of one man and one woman. This is not merely the doctrine of any one religion, but rather an understanding of our basic human nature.
Other Catholic bishops are joining in as well. As Breitbart reports, William Murphy, Bishop of Rockville Center, N.Y., also released a letter to the Catholics of his diocese last week arguing nearly the same point:
Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive “personally opposed but . . .” line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote. Let me repeat that: Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive “personally opposed but . . .” line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote.
Before Tim Kaine makes any more claims about his Catholic faith, perhaps he ought to consult the men charged with teaching and defending it. Who knows? He might even learn something.
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Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.