Matt C. Abbott
Pfleger, Pavone on Hillary
By Matt C. Abbott
June 11, 2016

In a recent Facebook post, Father Michael Pfleger, who was supporting Bernie Sanders, decided to endorse Hillary Clinton, albeit unenthusiastically.

Father Pfleger is perhaps the only priest-activist here in the U.S. who can get away with publicly saying and doing just about anything. It's been like that for years. I can't help but wonder if he knows where the bodies are buried in the Archdiocese of Chicago, so to speak.

I asked Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, to respond to Father Pfleger's unsurprising endorsement.

Father Pavone's response is as follows:
    So apparently, not all Catholic priests are as concerned as most of the diocesan chanceries are about 'risking our tax-exempt status' when it comes to speaking out about elections. As I explain at length in my book Abolishing Abortion, we shouldn't be.

    But in that same book I point out why, when one is wrong on abortion (as Hillary is), one is wrong on all social justice issues, immediately and necessarily. The reason is as simple as why a house, though having the most sturdy walls and exquisite windows, cannot stand without a foundation. The foundation of social justice is the right to life. Abortion is not, as some think we say, the only issue. It is, however, the destruction of the heart and soul of every issue.

    If you can kill a baby, you've taken away all his or her education, health care, protection from terrorism, right to vote – in short, all his or her rights. So you've rendered all those rights negotiable – and applicable not to all, but only to some (that is, those whose lives you're willing to protect).

    The United States bishops use this analogy of the house quite forcefully in their document Living the Gospel of Life.

    Hillary finds it difficult to name a single abortion she doesn't oppose, or a single circumstance in which a baby should be protected from dismemberment, as the clip above shows.

    Some in the Church have criticized me for 'endorsing Republican candidates,' or at least seeming to do so. I wonder how much those who promote, or seem to promote, Hillary, will get equivalent criticism. But I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat. The only reason I sound like I favor Republicans is that I ask, unapologetically: If a candidate can't respect the life of a little baby, how is he or she supposed to respect yours?
(Several weeks ago, Father Pfleger angrily told a local pro-life activist via email: "[Y]ou are not pro-life; you are pro-birth – and then the hell with them.")

On a related note, Los Angeles Archbishop Josť Gomez recently wrote in regard to the so-called seamless garment philosophy (excerpted; click here to read the archbishop's column in its entirety):
    Abortion and euthanasia are 'fundamental' social issues, because if the child in the womb has no right to be born, if the sick and the old have no right to be taken care of, then there is no solid foundation to defend anyone's human rights, and no foundation for peace and justice in society.

    How can we claim to speak for the marginalized and disenfranchised, if we are allowing millions of innocent children to be killed each year in the womb? If we cannot justify caring for the weakest and most innocent of God's creatures, how can we call our society to resist the excesses of nationalism and militarism or confront global poverty or protect our common home in creation?
© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

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