Green Bay bishop urges parishioners to vote against candidates who support abortion, gay marriage
Green Bay Bishop David Ricken is shown here at the outdoor mass for the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary in August. In a letter to parishoners this week, Ricken addressed the issues Catholics should consider when voting Nov. 6.
Bishop David Ricken, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, noted in a recent letter to parishioners that voting for candidates who support what he calls “intrinsically evil” positions, such as abortion and gay marriage, could “put your own soul in jeopardy.”
Ricken’s letter, dated Oct. 24, notes that the church has a responsibility to “speak out regarding moral issues, especially on those issues that impact the ‘common good.’” It goes on to note principles to keep in mind in the voting booth on Nov. 6, including abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and gay marriage.
“A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program that contradicts fundamental contents of faith and morals,” Ricken said in the letter. “Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform. To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”
While Ricken’s letter does not specify who should get parishioners’ votes, Republican candidates typically oppose abortion rights while Democrats, to a large degree, support them.
On the abortion issue, for example, President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have different views. The Democratic incumbent supports access to abortion without restriction, mandating free contraception for women and changing his mind this year to endorse gay marriage. Romney is socially conservative, opposing gay marriage and abortion rights and saying the government should not mandate free contraception.
Ricken’s guidance on these issues carry a lot of weight in this region — the diocese has 304,614 members in 16 counties. Across the state, Catholics make up more than 25 percent of the population, or 1.5 million people, according to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies’ 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study.