This election season, we've already seen a Catholic church in California link Hillary Clinton to Satan and suggest that voting Democrat is a "mortal sin." But now, another Catholic priest has taken it a step further. In a Facebook Live video, Rev. Frank Pavone, a priest in Texas, put an aborted fetus on an altar and encouraged people to vote for Donald Trump.
Rev. Pavone describes himself as "a fulltime pro-life leader, a Catholic Priest, and National Director of Priests for Life, the largest prolife ministry in the Catholic Church." The Trump supporter was also the first voter in his district to cast a vote—a moment he shared proudly on Instagram. But before he voted, Pavone shared his thoughts about the election via social media videos and used an aborted fetus as a prop.
The 44-minute Facebook Live video, which has 333,000 views and counting, shows Pavone wearing clerical clothing and standing in front of an altar, which has two candles on it along with an aborted fetus in full sight. You can watch the graphic NSFW video here.
In the video description, Pavone explains, "Today I am showing you a child who was killed by abortion and entrusted to us by a pathologist for burial." The description goes on: "Today I am showing him to you because in this election we have to decide if we will allow this child killing to continue in America or not. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform says yes, let the child-killing continue (and you pay for it); Donald Trump and the Republican platform says no, the child should be protected."
In the video, the priest holds up a poster showing graphics of abortion procedures, which he describes in vivid detail. Should we consider all the various factors that affect abortion rights? "Nonsense! We're living in the middle of a holocaust!" Pavone says in the video. He wonders, "Supporting this holocaust doesn't disqualify a candidate or a party from your support? God is gonna bless us and our posterity if we continue to allow this slaughter?" In the video, he compares the number of abortions to murders by guns.
Pavone posted a shorter (but still graphic) version of his Facebook Live video on Instagram. "Words are not enough in this heated election campaign," he explains. The description reads, "This child, killed by abortion, bears witness to us that we must put our nation on the track this election towards the ending of this ongoing slaughter."
"As you decide whom you are going to cast your vote for, spend a few moments looking at this child," Pavone says while standing in front of the fetus. "I show him to you today to urge you to vote pro-life."
Not everyone appreciates Pavone's activism. Writing for Patheos, a website with religious commentary, Scott Eric Alt argued that Pavone should be suspended for his "sick political stunt." Calling it "a sacrilege" and "a violation of canon law," Alt wrote: "Being pro-life is about respecting the dignity of the human person. It is the antithesis of respect for the dignity of the human person to use a dead child as a political prop to lobby for your presidential candidate the day before an election."
Regarding the election, Catholics aren't unified in their choices. Pope Francis has warned against fear and building walls, which some have interpreted as criticism of Trump. According to the Washington Post, 48 percent of Catholics support Hillary Clinton compared to 44 percent supporting Trump. Though, even among Catholics, the racial divide is clear. For Hispanic Catholics, 79 percent support Clinton compared to only 12 percent supporting Donald Trump, who has a history of saying racist things. Among white Catholics though, only 38 percent support Clinton compared to 54 percent supporting Trump.
In addition to using an aborted fetus for a publicity stunt and suggesting that voting Democrat is a mortal sin, the Catholic Church has gotten involved this election season by donating $850,000 to campaign against legal marijuana in Massachusetts.