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When asked if Catholic members of Congress could vote for a bill that funds contraception-sterilization-abortifacients, the Cardinal ducked the question. The answer is that, of course, they can vote for such a mandate. However, he failed to tell the complete truth: that by doing so, those Congressmen would be putting their everlasting souls in jeopardy.

Instead, Cardinal O’Malley said, “It’s complicity, but it’s not immediate, obviously. I mean, just as anyone who votes for an individual who votes for, in a very remote way – but, you know, people’s motivation in all of these things can be very complicated, and they can have different reasons for doing things, and sometimes they see what they’re doing is the lesser of two evils. But we’re trying to form consciences so that people will realize how important and how central the Gospel of Life is to the social teaching of the Church.”

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What did the Cardinal say in the preceding 89 words? Not a thing. No moral analysis. No answer. According to the Cardinal, it is complicated — but he is trying to form consciences.

The Cardinal’s rhetoric reminds me of two things. The first is Christ’s description of what He would do with the tepid; the second is what St. John Chrysostom said paved the road to Hell.


Robert L. Hale is founder and director of a nonprofit public interest law firm.

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Photo credit: Jim, The Photographer (Flickr)

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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