Supreme Knight Carl Anderson spoke out against voting for pro-abortion politicians in his address to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Canada earlier this month.
“[T]he right to abortion is not just another political issue; it is, in reality, a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths,” Anderson said:
40 million is greater than the entire population of Canada. …What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation? The answer, of course, is that there is none. Abortion is different. Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.
Anderson speaks with a clarity that the Church has been starving for, and with elections around the corner his message could not be more timely.
What is more, he speaks for a majority of pro-life leaders who also prioritize addressing the evil of abortion, including the heroic Catholics activists Lila Rose of Live Action and David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress.
Consider these examples.
Tim Staples, Apologist for Catholic Answers
As if by divine providence, the very day Anderson delivered his remarks the popular program “Catholic Answers” produced a video with a very similar message. In the video, Catholic apologist Tim Staples says in part:
We’re in a situation now where we have got to wake up Catholics and help them to see that when babies are being slaughtered in their mothers’ wombs … you can’t say “Well, but gee I like [a pro-abortion candidate’s] immigration policy. I like his economic policy.” …Immigration policy and economic policy aren’t going to do you much good if you’re dead.
Fr. Frank Pavone, President of Priests for Life
In the same segment, Staples presents an important argument. If politicians are “so lost intellectually and morally that they are advocating for slaughtering babies,” he asks, “what else are they going be askew about?” Paraphrasing Fr. Frank Pavone, Staples concludes that “if a publicly elected official who’s supposed to serve the people … does not know the difference between serving the public and killing the public,” he has “no right” to even hold the office of “dogcatcher.”
John Zmirak and Jason Scott Jones of I Am Whole Life
At The Stream, Catholic authors and pro-life activists John Zmirak and Jason Scott Jones parallel Carl Anderson when they write that the “Democrat platform could not be more unequivocally committed on this issue [of ‘abortion rights’] if the Convention voted to rename it the Abortion Party.” This is especially troubling since “platforms provide a core sample of the beliefs of a party’s leaders … They tell us who makes up the party, and where it may be headed.”
Katherine Jean Lopez, Editor at Large, National Review Online
Writing at (Knights of Columbus-affiliated) Crux, Catholic columnist Katherine Jean Lopez praises Anderson’s condemnation of pro-abortion politicians as “completely right:”
Anderson sees that voting for pro-abortion politicians for other reasons has not brought them closer to a moral position, or even the pro-restriction position that polling shows is held by 8 in 10 Americans. His point was that at a time when America’s fundamental moral direction seems up for grabs, encouraging a pro-abortion candidate, for whatever reason, is not a wise prudential choice.
Keith Fournier, Founder and Chairman of the pro-life Common Good Foundation
“Carl Anderson is exactly correct … His clarity is courageous and refreshing,” writes pro-life speaker and Catholic Deacon Keith Fournier at Catholic Online. “We desperately need ‘men with chests’ in this urgent hour. Carl Anderson has proven himself to be numbered among them.”
Bishops, the USCCB
In his report on Anderson’s speech, Religion News Service’s David Gibson observes “the U.S. hierarchy has grown increasingly conservative and for many bishops an elected official’s stance on abortion rights has become a litmus test … for any candidate to receive the support of Catholic voters.”
After all, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops is meant to lead—and not to follow—an American Catholic community that predominately voted for pro-abortion candidates in the last few elections. Anderson’s clarion call will surely embolden many good bishops.
The Broader Pro-Life Movement
In addition to Catholic pro-life leaders, Anderson’s speech was widely celebrated within the larger tent of the pro-life movement as a whole. Quotations from his speech were immediately shared on social media by such leading pro-life institutions as the Susan B. Anthony List and Students for Life.
“Seeking the ruin of souls”
Anderson’s message is a great encouragement. And, as seen above, there is a chorus of important Christian voices who are ready to follow Anderson’s lead, building a pro-life consensus that should inspire hope in this turbulent election cycle.
But there is also a dark undercurrent in what Anderson had to say. He specifically denounced the “political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates,” and declared that it is “time to end the entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing. It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians.”
Who are these “abortion advocates” who target Catholic voters for “manipulation?” Where is there evidence of an “entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing,” and who is “creating excuses” for voting pro-abortion? Are any Catholics entangled with other evils that the Church officially condemns, such as same-sex “marriage” or the suppression of religious liberty?
For answers to these questions, which are more important than ever, return to CatholicVote on a regular basis. First, readers can find a “Policy 101” page to equip themselves with a solid Catholic perspective and a lens through which to view political news. Second, CatholicVote will provide regular updates in keeping with the Catholic duty to “be watchful,” as our “adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Click here to watch Carl Anderson’s remarks on pro-life voting.