On the same day Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was selected as the running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia released a statement on the duty of Catholics serving in public office.
Kaine, who is outspoken regarding his Catholic Faith, has pledged to defend women’s abortion rights though he personally opposes the practice.
The statement from Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo — “Regarding Catholics in Public Office” — takes a firm stand on when human life begins and the rights of the unborn:
The Catholic Church makes its position very clear as it pertains to the protection of human life, social justice initiatives, and the importance of family life. From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust.
DiLorenzo concludes that “it is the duty of all Catholics” to take the information given to them by Church leaders and “decide through an upright and informed conscience as to their worthiness to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”
The day after Kaine was tapped as Clinton’s vice presidential pick, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, posted a message to Facebook explicitly challenging the Virginia senator’s faith claims.
In the post, titled, “VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?” Bishop Tobin outlines Kaine’s positions on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions and women becoming priests.
“All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well,” Tobin wrote.
“Senator Kaine has said, ‘My faith is central to everything I do,'” he continued. “But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”