The U.S. bishops on Wednesday approved an “introductory note” to give voting guidance to Catholics, which included the passage of a last-minute amendment emphasizing that opposing abortion is the preeminent priority for the bishops’ conference.
The measure was approved at the fall gathering of the U.S. bishops’ conference, held in Baltimore, with no floor debate over the amendment.
The question of abortion had been closely debated in prior meetings, with previous discussion about whether abortion should be described in the document as the pre-eminent priority of the conference.
The text approved Wednesday included an amendment that was not publicly available, but was part of a slate of amendments recommended for passage by the task force of bishops which drafted the introductory note.
Multiple sources confirmed to The Pillar that the amendment reads, “The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks our most vulnerable and voiceless brothers and sisters and destroys more than a million lives per year in our country alone.”
The amendment is a change from the draft of the text distributed to bishops ahead of their plenary meeting this week, which stated that opposing abortion is “a preeminent priority” for the bishops, but did not single it out as the single foremost issue in political life.
The new introductory note was approved overwhelmingly, by a vote of 225-11, with seven bishops abstaining.