Are Catholic politicians doing more harm than good in abortion debate?

Catholicism, in its doctrines and papal decrees, has been one of the most stalwart in defending the unborn, standing its ground against abortion.

Yet, when it comes to Catholic politicians in the halls of Congress, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, and former Vice President Joe Biden, the numbers show they do more harm than good to the pro-life cause, according to Matthew Schmitz, the editor of First Things magazine.

In fact, Schmitz makes the audacious claim in a recent opinion article in the Catholic Herald that, “If every Catholic were removed from Congress tomorrow, the unborn would have less cause for fear; if the Senate and House were suddenly purged, the defenders of life would enjoy better odds against their enemies.”

In Schmitz’s article called, “The Statistic That Shames Catholic Politicians," he claimed there is a wide disconnect between their faith and their politics. And their stance on abortion, he says, is a litmus test of their faith values.


On “A Spirited Debate” at Fox News Digital, Schmitz said, “I decided I would take pro-abortion organizations at their own word, to see how Catholic politicians are doing.”

His research uncovered that according to NARAL, the pro-choice, pro-abortion organization, Catholic senators got a 57 percent NARAL approval rating, while Catholic representatives had an average 58 percent approval rating. Non-Catholic Senators got a 47 percent, and non-Catholic representatives a 46 percent NARAL rating.

But politicians shouldn’t be singled out. Catholics in general are pretty evenly split when it comes to abortion. According to Pew, 48 percent of Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. While slightly less, 47 percent, say it should illegal in all or most cases.

“There's a lot of blame to go around,” Schmitz said.

He said there are a large number of Catholics who are not intensely religious -- it’s more about tradition than real commitment.


“So someone who never goes to church would say, ‘Sure, I’m Catholic’ the same way someone would say, ‘Sure, I’m Irish,’” he said.

But beyond that, Schmitz says, “there’s been a failure, broadly in the church, to act as it if really believes what it says it believes.

“America’s Catholic bishops have not imposed any penalties on Catholic politician who support abortion,” he said.

But liberal Catholics, like Christopher Hale, former Obama faith advisor, take umbrage with conservatives like Schmitz who claim they are not faithful Catholics.

Hale said while abortion is a big issue, it’s not the only issue Catholics are concerned with. When it comes to immigration, helping the poor, and the environment, liberal Catholics are far more in line with the values Pope Francis holds.

Schmitz doesn’t deny this as fact but said you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

“[If] many people are being killed under a certain social system, you don’t say, ‘You know that’s fine,’” he said. “Because, ‘on the other hand they have great policies on climate or they really support recycling.’”