Catholics Shouldn't Only Care About Abortion While Voting, Texas Bishop Says

Written by on October 3, 2020

Abortion shouldn’t be the one situation that Roman Catholics care about after they determine how one can forged their votes within the 2020 elections, a Texas bishop has mentioned.

El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz lamented the truth that some Christians are “single-issue” voters in relation to abortion ― whereas ignoring points equivalent to racism, staff’ rights, local weather change, and restoring protections for asylum seekers.

Prioritizing abortion over different ethical points has “harmed the credibility of the dedication of Christians to the widespread good and compromised the integrity of our Gospel witness,” Seitz wrote in a mirrored image printed Wednesday by the Jesuit journal America. 

“Our concern and advocacy for all times should embrace all the marginalized and excluded, or it would ring hole,” the bishop wrote.

El Paso's Roman Catholic Bishop Mark Seitz escorts Celsia Palma, 9, of Honduras, and her family across a point of entry on th

El Paso’s Roman Catholic Bishop Mark Seitz escorts Celsia Palma, 9, of Honduras, and her household throughout a degree of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border so the household may very well be processed into the U.S. on June 27, 2019, in Juarez, Mexico.

Many Catholics really feel “politically homeless” throughout election season, the bishop mentioned. He mentioned he believes it’s attainable for devoted members of the church to reach at totally different conclusions about whom to vote for after weighing the problems dealing with the nation.

Whereas President Donald Trump has supported the anti-abortion motion and brought steps to guard non secular liberties, he has finally “tainted the pro-life trigger with the individualism and cult of wealth, greed and movie star that in a short time erode solidarity and cheapen life,” Seitz mentioned. The Trump administration has inspired nativism and undermined non secular liberty with insurance policies like his journey bans that focused Muslims, the bishop mentioned. 

Seitz decried the Democratic Celebration’s place on abortion and non secular liberty points vital to the church. However he counseled its presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, for the respect the Catholic politician has proven to Pope Francis, his historic choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his working mate, and his “working-class ethos.”

“As a bishop on the border, I’m additionally inspired by the Biden marketing campaign’s guarantees to deal with local weather change, create a path to citizenship for the undocumented, restore protections for asylum seekers and by no means repeat the legal follow of separating households on the border,” Seitz wrote.

Addressing racism additionally seems to be a prime precedence for the bishop. Because the chief of Catholics in El Paso, a primarily Latino diocese positioned on the U.S.-Mexico border, Seitz mentioned he’s seen firsthand the methods racism harms individuals. He pointed to a capturing in an El Paso Walmart, which reportedly focused Mexicans and left 22 individuals useless. After the loss of life of George Floyd this spring, Seitz grew to become the primary Catholic bishop to take a knee in assist of Black lives.  

Catholics want to acknowledge that abortion’s standing as a wedge situation is definitely the results of a “misbegotten” alliance between political and spiritual leaders on the fitting, the bishop mentioned.

“For much too lengthy, in pursuit of ‘single-issue’ methods to finish abortion, many Christians have scandalously turned a blind eye to actual breakdowns in solidarity and dehumanizing insurance policies, together with crackdowns on employee rights and voting rights, the slashing of social assist for the poor and sick, racism and the exploitation of immigrants and the atmosphere,” he wrote. 

Bishop Mark Seitz participates in a Mass attended by hundreds at the U.S.-Mexico border, held in memory of migrants killed by

Bishop Mark Seitz participates in a Mass attended by a whole lot on the U.S.-Mexico border, held in reminiscence of migrants killed by crossing the Rio Bravo of their try to succeed in the US, on Nov. 4, 2017.

Abortion wasn’t at all times handled as a litmus check for devoted voting. Evangelical Protestants had been largely ambivalent on abortion earlier than the 1970s, seeing it as a Catholic situation. However throughout the 1972 presidential election, Richard Nixon made abortion a key a part of his marketing campaign, searching for to attract Catholics away from the Democratic Celebration. Within the ensuing a long time, abortion politics helped cement relationships between conservative Catholics and evangelicals, forming a robust coalition on the non secular proper. 

In a 2019 voting information, U.S. bishops referred to as abortion a “preeminent” situation for Catholic voters to think about. On the identical time, research present that American Catholics are divided on the problem. About 56% of Catholics say abortion ought to be authorized in all or most circumstances, in keeping with a 2019 survey from the Pew Analysis Middle. 

The church’s sturdy anti-abortion stance has compelled some clergy to sentence Catholic politicians who’ve come to totally different conclusions on the problem. In 2019, a South Carolina priest banned Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, a Catholic, from receiving communion due to the previous vp’s assist for abortion rights. An Illinois bishop decreed final yr that Catholic lawmakers who supported a state abortion rights laws can be banned from communion.

But Seitz isn’t utterly alone in his insistence that different points ought to be given equal significance within the voting sales space. Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, criticized Trump as “anti-life” earlier this yr for the president’s method to well being care, immigration and the pandemic. Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, has mentioned that he would personally have issue voting for Trump.

All three of those bishops had been appointed to their present positions by Pope Francis. 

Seitz pointed to how Pope Francis has challenged Catholics to deal with their concern for the lives of the poor, sick, and marginalized as “equally sacred” because the “unborn.” 

Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a scholar of Catholic ecclesiology and sexuality at Manhattan Faculty, instructed HuffPost bishops’ method to this topic usually is dependent upon what they depend as “life” points ― some bishops suppose being “pro-life” solely means the criminalization of abortion, whereas for others, the problems are extra wide-ranging.

For Catholic girls, abortion doesn’t appear to be a precedence when deciding how one can forged their ballots, Imperatori-Lee mentioned.

“Even essentially the most anti-abortion Catholics are realizing that overturning Roe and the disappearance of abortion are two totally different targets,” Imperatori-Lee mentioned. “Democratic administrations with sturdy social security web provisions result in fewer abortions. The authorized questions are removed from most individuals’s issues.”

As a substitute, she mentioned many Catholic girls appear to be fearful concerning the economic system and the pandemic, notably its impact on working moms who’re educating their youngsters from house.

“I believe that the day-to-day unsustainability of life on this disaster, together with the actual questions of police reform and accountability for non-white Catholics, of household separation and refusal of entry to refugees are the ethical points that Catholic girls are fascinated about between now and Nov. 3,” she mentioned.

Given the challenges dealing with the nation immediately, America wants leaders “with character and expertise” who can convey individuals collectively, Seitz wrote in his essay.

In the end, the bishop mentioned, “God will choose us by the authenticity of our dedication to persevering with to face with all these pressured to the margins of our society, even after Election Day.”

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