Here we go again.
The pro-life Catholic community is issuing a collective groan over Hillary Clinton’s choice of Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate and all the buzz his “faith” received during the Democratic convention.
It is not enough for a Catholic to say he or she is personally pro-life but as a lawmaker supports Roe v. Wade and its deadly companion, Doe v. Bolton. It might seem politically expedient to be privately one thing and publicly its opposite, but it’s not a valid or truthful stance, in public or in private.
In Kaine’s case, he openly supports Planned Parenthood and voted against an effort to defund the nation’s largest abortion business. “NARAL Pro-Choice America” gives a bloody thumbs-up to Kaine’s candidacy for his perfect pro-abortion record in the Senate. He supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which would open the door to taxpayer funding of abortion.
News reports calling Kaine pro-life simply lack all validity.
As I wrote in an open letter to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2013, when she was simultaneously crowing about her Catholicism and calling abortion “sacred ground,” lawmakers who think they can go to Mass on Sunday and call themselves Catholic while voting in favor of abortion are making a mockery of the faith. Whatever faith Kaine claims to respect and practice, it’s not the faith the Catholic Church teaches.
Sen. Kaine is not the first politician to try to score points by using his faith to play to both sides of the issue. Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry also like to trumpet their faith when it suits them.
In his remarks at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast this year, Biden – while not specifically mentioning the unborn – said:
I happen to be a practicing Catholic, and I grew up learning from the nuns and the priests who taught me what we used to call Catholic social doctrine. But it’s not fundamentally different than a doctrine of any of the great confessional faiths. It’s what you do to the least among us that you do unto me. It’s we have an obligation to one another. It’s we cannot serve ourselves at the expense of others, and that we have a responsibility to future generations.
That’s a perfectly pro-life speech. But in an interview with America magazine, Biden — while conceding that he believes “abortion is always wrong” –went on to say: “But I’m not prepared to impose doctrine that I’m prepared to accept on the rest” of the country.
As if stopping people from killing others initiates some kind of theocracy.
John Kerry liked to point out that he was the first Catholic secretary of state in the U.S. but as an abortion supporter, he carries the Obama administration’s death-for-the-unborn policy with him around the globe.
And now comes Tim Kaine, asserting his Catholicism and supporting a woman’s right to choose abortion for her unborn child. Kaine told an op-ed contributor for Time magazine that he considers Pope Francis to be his hero. The pope, of course, has not weighed in on the Virginia senator’s selection to run on pro-abortion Hillary Clinton’s ticket but the pontiff’s position on the sanctity of life is unequivocal.
In his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelium Gaudium, Pope Francis wrote:
Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right.
Closely linked indeed. Some think that while people’s position on abortion may be wrong, their positions on other social issues can be right. But the fact is, once you get it wrong on abortion, you can’t get it right on anything else. No other right can be a “human right” once you say that some humans do not have the right on which all the rest depend — because then, you are saying that those rights belong to some humans, but not to all.
Pope Saint John Paul II put it this way:
[T]he common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights—for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture—is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination. (Christifideles Laici, no. 38).
When Biden, Pelosi, Kerry and now Kaine proclaim their Catholic identity and their pro-abortion policies in the same breath, they all are guilty of a blatant contradiction. Moreover, they undermine the very foundation of the social justice they claim to support.
Fr. Frank Pavone is National Director, Priests for Life