'Life’ and the voting booth
Kansas bishops produce videos on election issues
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
Bishop John B. Brungardt wants it known that as Kansans take to the voting booth this fall, that “the Lord and our Catholic faith” speak clearly when it comes to life issues.
In one of four election-year videos created by the Catholic Bishops of Kansas, Bishop Brungardt said that the protection of innocent human life is “of such importance, of such great moral weight, that [it] must occupy a special place in the thinking of the Catholic voter.”
“All human life is precious,” he said, “whether born or unborn.” However, because abortion has become such a partisan political issue, “It has become easy for people to forget what’s at stake.”
Every year in the United States, more than one million unborn baby boys and girls are destroyed by abortion. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, more than 55 million “innocent, defenseless human lives have been intentionally, and legally, extinguished.
“Brothers and sisters, it is difficult to accept that evil of this magnitude could be happening in our very midst, but it is,” Bishop Brungardt said. “We cannot just go on about our lives, treating this as just another political issue to be argued about by politicians. “Imagine any other scenario where one million innocent human beings would be killed in a year, and then consider what our reaction would be.”
All four videos can be viewed and downloaded by going to dcdiocese.org, and clicking on the “election issues” link. Other videos cover the subjects of “Marriage,” “Usury [the danger of ‘pay-day’ loans – see Page 6],” and “Religious Freedom.” They are presented by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of Salina, and Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita, respectively.
In Bishop Brungardt’s presentation, he makes it clear that faith and science do not differ when it comes to matters of the unborn.
“Church teaching on this issue is clear,” he said. Quoting Psalm 139, he added, “‘You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.’
“Science and common sense are just as clear about our tiny sisters and brothers in the womb,” Bishop Brungardt said. “A baby does not magically transform into a human being as she emerges from the birth canal. At the moment of conception, all of the genetic material that will ever be present in that person is present -- all that is added during pregnancy is food and water, and the mother’s nurturing love.
“And yet, today it is perfectly legal to kill an unborn child with arms and legs, a heartbeat, brainwaves, his or her own blood type, and his or her own distinct human DNA. This is an offense against God, against decency, and against the common good.”
“This broken world of ours needs hearts that are not hardened to the fate of the weak, the vulnerable, and the imperfect,” the bishop said. “Every human person is made in the image of God from the moment of conception until natural death.”
Bishop Brungardt impressed upon voters that they must seek out “mercy, kindness and unconditional love,” an antidote to what Pope Francis has called a “throwaway culture” – a culture that also devalues the weak, the ill, and the elderly.
“No one is without human dignity just because he or she depends upon others,” Bishop Brungardt said. “Indeed, I think it is a beautiful part of our reality that at the beginning and end of our lives, we may be served by others, thus assisting them in their call to holiness. It is then that we offer others the chance to live the Christian vocation to care for us, the weak or ill. This loving service is our call as disciples of Christ.”
He urged individuals, communities and parishes to offer help to “the noble women who have chosen – often in dire circumstances – to welcome new life. Please contact your local Catholic Charities for information about crisis pregnancy centers in your area.”
And he made clear the need to help those who have suffered an abortion in the past.
“Help, hope, and healing in the Lord are a phone call away,” he said. He suggested that those needing help or support to “confidentially contact your Catholic parish or diocesan chancery for information about post-abortion ministries. For example, Project Rachel Ministry or Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries bring great forgiveness and peace.” Bishop Brungardt was previously the director of Rachel’s Vineyard for five years in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.
“We have to continue to demand laws that protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters from abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. No Catholic should ever vote for a candidate because he or she supports these evils, and it is difficult to imagine in our day and age what would ever justify a Catholic voting for such a candidate. We cannot avert our eyes from the tragedy being done.”
Bishop Brungardt urged voters not to forget the role that judges play in life issues: “Judges gave us Roe v. Wade, and judges have put on hold some of the good Pro-Life laws that have been passed across the country, including in Kansas.”
“Be assured of my prayers as we participate in the political process this Fall, a sacred responsibility of our Catholic faith. Trust in the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ, to guide you in your vote. Jesus loves you more than you can ask or imagine. May Mary, who carried unborn Baby Jesus in her womb, be with you. May God bless you and your families.”