Shame on Tim Kaine — The Unborn’s Right to Life Isn’t a Private, Catholic Thing. It’s a Universal Truth.
Tim Kaine, the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate, claims that a Catholic can be “personally opposed” to abortion but support it in political life. The senator is absolutely wrong. His position is morally incoherent and unfaithful to the Bible, Christian tradition and Catholic doctrine.
“I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn’t intrude,” Kaine told CNN. “I’m a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don’t need to make people’s reproductive decisions for them.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the chief watchdog of the Vatican, issued an instruction in 2002 “on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life.” How we participate in public life, they said, “is a question of the lay Catholic’s duty to be morally coherent, found within one’s conscience, which is one and indivisible.” We aren’t allowed a separate “public” and “private” morality.
They continued, “There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual life’, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular’ life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. The branch, engrafted to the vine which is Christ, bears its fruit in every sphere of existence and activity.”
Kaine’s Moral Incoherence
Kaine has said, “My faith is central to everything I do.” In a recent Facebook post, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, rightly opined, “Apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”
Kaine is in my diocese and after his nomination our Bishop, Francis X. DiLorenzo, issued a statement on Catholics in public office noting, “From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust.”
Notice that the right to life is a fundamental human right. Kaine knows this is not just a “religious” position he can choose to accept in his own personal life and deny in the discharge of his office. It’s not a matter of Christian faith, like belief in the Virgin Birth. It’s a matter of the universal or natural law that everyone knows and that binds everyone. Because that law is universal and natural, it is the basis for public law and policy.
As an intelligent Catholic, Kaine certainly knows this. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it: The Natural Law is “present in the heart of each man and established by reason. This law is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties.”
The Catholic teaching on the right to life is a response to the truth revealed by the Natural Law and confirmed by medical science. The sonogram alone affirms that the child in the womb is our neighbor. So does his genetic makeup. He is a human person. No other class of human beings can be killed as a matter of personal choice, and this is so in part because everyone knows that is wrong — just as everyone really knows that it is wrong to kill the unborn child through abortion.
Kaine knows this. If there were any doubt, our bishop made sure to say that through the Virginia Catholic Conference, emphasizing that ”elected officials in Virginia are aware of the Church’s positions on such important issues.” Kaine’s been told.
A Final Irony
There’s a final irony to Tim Kaine’s endorsement of the harshest pro-abortion laws and policies. The pro-life position is a position of solidarity. He was a missionary in Honduras and told the press, “My faith position is a Good Samaritan position of trying to watch out for the other person.” He knows what solidarity means. He’s lived it as a Catholic.
One of our greatest missionaries, a little nun from Calcutta, called unwanted children the “poorest of the poor.” In Kaine’s rejecting the right to life of children in the womb, his claims to compassion for the “other person” are exposed as selective. He feels no solidarity with the unborn. He “personally” believes that the unborn child should live, but as a public figure he approves that child’s intentional killing as an exercise of individual freedom.
Shame on Tim Kaine.