It Comes Down to the Abortion Issue
Written by: 
Joe Morris Doss

The official positions each American church community has taken on issues facing the next President are quite well documented, available, and clear. The fundamentalist evangelicals have decided to vote for Trump despite deep reservations about his actual Christian beliefs and commitments because they agree with him politically. A few examples should suffice: The members are almost all white, dominated by the leadership of men, and demand that America conform to the way they think and live; they are for sending away undocumented aliens and building a wall against Mexico; anti-evolutionist, there is little respect for science – which is pitted against “religion” and “revelation” – and there is almost no concern for protection of the environment or prevention of further global warming; social and economic justice are issues that cause resentment. The stated reason many fundamentalists give for voting for Trump is to prevent appointments a Democrat might make to the Supreme Court, and the primary focus there is on overturning Roe v. Wade.

Almost without exception, the official positions taken by Protestant mainline denominations oppose Trump because of the church’s prophetic tradition and its concern for social and economic justice, especially protection of minority rights. Again, theologically, most agree with the right of women to decide on issues regarding their own bodies, including the right to an abortion and use of contraception. Increasingly mainline Protestant churches are open to marriage equality and rights for LGBT persons.

It is faithful Roman Catholics who face a choice that will force them to choose between opposing but official positions. On the one hand, there are issues of justice and reconciliation that the National Council of Bishops has consistently supported with brilliant theological statements, guiding the faithful to vote for candidates who will follow the dictates of each statement. Perhaps the most dramatic instance of a declaration of belief regarding the issues came from the Pope: “A person who thinks only about building walls… and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel.” This was a stunning, but not surprising, rejection of Trump’s signature position. It did not take a careful examination of the context for the statement to realize that it was pointing to other such issues in which simple human compassion, internationalism, justice, and equality are rejected by the Republican Party nominee. The Pope came precariously close to taking a stand on the election.

On the other hand, there is the Roman Catholic Church’s position regarding human sexuality and the role of women (e.g. contraception) that gets summarized in the question of abortion. Since Roe v. Wade abortion has been the signature position for this denomination. Many American faithful have taken a position so extreme that they actually claim murder when a woman decides to have an abortion. The issue has become YUGE, as Trump would say, overwhelming all others.

Push now has come to Shove: Is allowing a women to have an abortion such an absolute wrong that it trumps – as it were – all of the wrongs and dangers that the church has long identified but that Trump now supports? Is changing the law of the land on abortion, two generations after it has been established, so crucial that it is worth having a man with Trump’s temperament, political and governmental inexperience, and remarkable ignorance hold the office of President? Will Roman Catholic leaders put out a word, however nuanced or blared out, for how the faithful should choose between wrongs? It is going to be interesting to see the faithful Roman Catholic choose.


By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has grabbed headlines with his off-the-cuff homilies, crowd-pleasing one-liners and lengthy interviews during which he has pontificated on everything from the church’s “obsession” with rules to how he won’t judge gays. But his chattiness has gotten him into some trouble, and the Vatican has gone into damage-control mode to clarify, correct or put his comments into context. Read the full article here.


By Fr. Albert Cutié

Fr. Albert Cutié

Fr. Albert Cutié

Pope Francis is inspiring! Since his first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter’s in the Vatican to the recent visit to Brazil, we have all been moved in countless ways by the new Bishop of Rome’s simplicity, directness and affable style. Almost every person or religious leader I have spoken with – from various faith traditions and denominations – shares these impressions. There is no doubt that the new Pope has won many hearts.

In a spiritual landscape filled with “Prosperity Gospel” preachers and theology, Pope Francis offers us an authentic Christian witness which is so needed today and echoes those popular prophetic words from the Hebrew Scriptures, “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). His demeanor and style very clearly proclaim that money and power are not gods.

In his welcoming statements in Brazil, this message of humility was reaffirmed when he said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but I bring with me the most precious gift: Jesus Christ!” It is apparent that his unassuming nature is not for public relations purposes and it is certainly not for show; it is the way he has always chosen to live as a follower of Jesus, a priest and bishop and now he has brought those personal attributes to the papacy. That is refreshing! Read More…


By Frank Bruni, New York Times

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No one at the Catholic high school that fired Carla Hale in March claimed that she was anything less than a terrific physical education teacher and coach, devoted to the kids and adored by many of them.No one accused her of bringing her personal life into the gym or onto the fields. By nature she’s private. And she loved her job too much to risk it that way.

But she lost it nonetheless, and the how is as flabbergasting as the why is infuriating.

Read the full story at the New York Times.