Abortion is on the same moral level as lynching because they both involve "the killing of innocent human beings," said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in a Nov. 9 interview with America magazine.
"[A] racial slur is racist," said the archbishop. "It’s wrong, but it’s not as bad as segregation, which is not as bad as lynching."
"We’re horrified to think that this was tolerated and condoned in the pre-civil rights South, right?" he said. "Well, abortion is at the same level of lynching because they both involve the killing of innocent human beings."
While discussing how the Catholic Church condemns abortion and gives it more emphasis than things such as immigration, housing, or poverty, Cordileone explained that there are levels of morality.
There are many bad things that occur in the world, but some things are worse than others. Murdering your spouse, for instance, is worse than verbally abusing your spouse.
The exchange with interviewer Gloria Purvis is presented below.
Gloria Purvis: I read your pastoral letter “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You,” which explains why we believe what we believe about abortion. You say it’s a pre-eminent issue because everything else is built on it. But you also make it clear that because of what we believe about the human person, we are also going to be opposed to racism. We’re also doing things around immigration. Could you talk a little bit more about that?
Archbishop Cordileone: This is the Catholic consistent ethic of life, right? I think one of the greatest breakthrough documents that our bishops’ conference has issued was the binational pastoral letter with the Mexican bishops’ conference on immigration, “Strangers No Longer.” It laid out very clearly five principles that any immigration policy has to respect, applying Catholic social teaching to the issue of immigration.
I hear criticism from some people that “the bishops are laser-focused on abortion; it’s the only thing that’s important to them; everything is invested there.” Well, first of all, in terms of investment, the church invests far more resources in programs to give immediate assistance to the poor than it does for the cause of respect for life in the womb.
But, as you said, abortion is pre-eminent. It’s difficult to compare abortion to racism per se or immigration per se because racism is an attitude, and it’s an attitude that manifests itself in different ways, some less serious and some more serious.
So a racial slur is racist. It’s wrong, but it’s not as bad as segregation, which is not as bad as lynching. We’re horrified to think that this was tolerated and condoned in the pre-civil rights South, right? Well, abortion is at the same level of lynching because they both involve the killing of innocent human beings.