early and awkward

Bishop Asks Voters to Write In Dead Catholics

Photo: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

Religious voters in Rhode Island’s midterm elections have received a special request from the state’s Catholic bishop Thomas Tobin: Vote for Mother Teresa or Pope Francis instead of either of the state’s gubernatorial candidates.

Both Democrat Gina Raimondo and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican, support abortion rights, leaving the staunchly anti-abortion bishop with no viable choices. Raimondo, a Catholic herself, even held a campaign event at the local Planned Parenthood and was endorsed by the group’s political action committee.

Not one to throw a scene, the Bishop expressed his views in a diocesan newsletter. “What a pathetic spectacle Catholic candidates present when, having to choose between Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Church, they choose Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in our nation,” he wrote, taking things all the way to death. “And I wonder — when in the future these candidates are in need of prayers and blessings, the Last Rites of the Church, and then finally funeral services — will they turn to Planned Parenthood or the Catholic Church to stand by their side?”

Tobin proposed three ways anti-abortion Catholics might respond to such a choice: Vote for the lesser of two evils, write in an alternate candidate, or not vote for that office altogether. Those choosing the middle option could choose St. John Paul or Mother Teresa (both dead), Pope Francis (who has bigger fish to fry), or “our own local pro-life hero, Baby Angela!” — a local infant born with a severe form of spina bifida.

The bishop is at least bipartisan in his disapproval. Unfortunately for him, though, a recent Univision poll found that 76 percent of Catholics worldwide agree with both gubernatorial candidates on abortion. They’ll probably vote based on the economy.

Bishop Asks Voters to Write In Dead Catholics