St. Pope John Paul II on Abortion Law: It Is ‘Never Licit To Obey It,’ Support It, Or ‘Vote For It’

Amy Furr | October 7, 2016 | 4:52pm EDT
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Democratic vice presidential

candidate Tim Kaine and St. Pope

John Paul II.  (AP photos) 

( – Although Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, who attends St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Va., has described himself as a Catholic who is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, his stance on both issues violate the teachings of the Catholic Church.

On abortion, this is clearly explained in St. Pope John Paul’s 1995 encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae and in Pope Benedict XVI’s letter on Catholics in political life.   

On Sept. 16, Kaine told National Public Radio, “I really basically support the holding of Roe v. Wade, which says, especially early in pregnancy, women get to make this decision on their own. Government can’t burden that choice.”

Back in 2012 when he ran for the U.S. Senate, Tim Kaine stated on his website, "I strongly support the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions and, for that reason, will oppose efforts to weaken or subvert the basic holding of Roe v. Wade.” 

The actual position of the Catholic Church is that any law legalizing the killing of an unborn child is an unjust law that violates the natural law and is, therefore, no law at all. Candidate Tim Kaine’s church teaches that it is not acceptable even to obey such laws let alone support them as part of a political campaign.

In Evangelium Vitae, or The Gospel of Life,  St. Pope John Paul II, who served as Pope for 27 years (1978-2005), stated, “I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God….” 

"Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity,” said St. Pope John Paul II.

"Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good," the Pope said. "Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.”

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph 

Ratzinger).  (AP) 

"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize," he said. "There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection."

"In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it,'" declared the Pope.

In 2002, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who served as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013, wrote a "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life."

The note, approved and published by St. Pope John Paul II, repeated that Catholic lawmakers have a "grave and clear obligation" to oppose legalized abortion and other attacks on the right to life. The church said it was "impossible" for a Catholic to promote such laws.

“At the same time, legislative proposals are put forward which, heedless of the consequences for the existence and future of human beings with regard to the formation of culture and social behavior, attack the very inviolability of human life," said this statement of Catholic teaching.

"John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life,” states the Doctrinal Note. “For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them."

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