PUBLISHED: 09:48 EST, 28 September 2012 | UPDATED: 11:54 EST, 28 September 2012
A Roman Catholic bishop has warned his flock that a vote for President Barack Obama could place ‘the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy’ because of ‘intrinsically evil and gravely sinful’ Democratic policies.
In a written message and video posted by the official newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki singled out the Democratic party position that ‘gay rights are human rights’ and support for gay marriage and abortion as sinful.
His message came as a Pew Research centre poll found that Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, was losing among Catholic voters by 54 to 39 percentage points despite having chosen Representative Paul Ryan, a devout Catholic, as his vice-presidential running mate.
The bishop explained: ‘There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils.
‘My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding ‘political’ and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins.’
Paprocki also lambasted Democrats for purging all references to God from their party platform during the Charlotte convention and then reinstating them even though it was clear the required two-thirds majority had not been secured in the voice vote in the hall.
‘What is troubling about that is the blatant disregard for the rules and for the apparent wishes of about half the delegates. The reference to God is back in the platform apparently because President Obama wanted it back in.
‘That may be fine for now, but if a future president wants references to God taken out, apparently that can be done regardless of the wishes of the delegates if that is what The Leader wants. That does not bode well for democracy in the Democratic Party.
Although he said that ‘I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against’, he urged careful thought and prayer before election day and gave the Republican platform a clean bill of moral health.
‘So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin,” he wrote.
‘One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgements about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.’
In June, the U.S. Conference for Catholic Bishops challenged the Obama administration’s mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception.
At the time, Paprocki noted that the mandate was ‘an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference’.
The Obama administration allowed an exemption for churches but Catholic argued that the definition of the term ‘religious employer’ was restrictive and excluded Catholic institutions such as schools, hospitals and social service agencies.