The bishop of Peoria, Illinois, is urging Catholics in his diocese to approach Tuesday's elections as a matter of life or death. Indeed, he suggests, their eternal lives may depend on it.
"For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life," wrote Bishop Daniel R. Jenky in a letter to be read during all Masses in the diocese this weekend. The bishop compared the moral dilemma facing voters today to the informal survey of "voter" sentiment taken by Pontius Pilate when he presented Jesus in a purple robe and crown of thorns to a crowd in Jerusalem.
"Nearly two thousand years ago," the bishop wrote, "after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: 'Behold your King.'"
The scene is described in the Gospel of John: "But they cried out: 'Away with him. Away with him. Crucify him.' Pilate said to them: 'Shall I crucify your king?' The chief priests answered: 'We have no king but Caesar.'" (John 19:15.)
"Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord," Bishop Jenky wrote. "They are objectively guilty of grave sin." The Catholic prelate also took aim at the mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring that employers at private institutions, including religious institutions other than houses of worship, provide contraceptive services — including sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs — among the healthcare benefits provided to their employees, in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious organizations have campaigned against the mandate, charging it is a violation of religious freedom of those institutions affiliated with churches that, like the Catholic Church, regard contraception and abortion as grave moral evils.
The bishop's letter continues,
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