CV NEWS FEED // Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington is urging Virginia Catholics to vote early and understand the choices between “good and evil” they have in this year’s elections.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of only two states with statewide elections every year and the entire General Assembly is up for re-election this November, along with some local offices.
“It’s very important for Catholics to, first of all, get out there. And if we’re going to be victorious and have people uphold all we believe to be true and good, then we have to win,” Bishop Burbidge said on the latest episode of his podcast, Walk Humbly.
“One of the ways you do that is — in this day and age, it’s a little bit different than in years past — is to vote early,” Burbidge urged:
I really suggest that we, as Catholics, we make our voice known, we get that voice out there, we vote early, we see if we can assist our neighbors or fellow parishioners who are unable to vote, either by taking them to the booths or maybe arranging for them to do so.
Co-host Billy Atwell, chief communications officer for the diocese, then called helping an elderly or disabled neighbor get to the polls an act of mercy. Burbidge agreed.
The bishop pointed out that October is Respect Life Month and said it was an opportunity to remind ourselves that “the preeminent issue is always the protection of all human life, lifting up the sacredness of human life, especially the preborn and the vulnerable who cannot protect themselves.”
Asked how Catholics should factor different issues into their votes, Burbidge said:
You have to make sure that we get the foundation right. And it all begins with the protection of life. It does. And then, if you get that right, then everything else is going to follow. If you believe that, then it’s going to be enacted in other ways—of how we treat the poor, of how we treat the vulnerable, of how we provide facilities and care. It all follows from that.
Abortion is one of the top issues in Virginia this year because the state Senate has a narrow 22-18 pro-abortion majority, which has shot down numerous pro-life bills supported by the pro-life majority in the House of Delegates and by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
It would only take a net gain of two Senate seats to establish a pro-life majority in the chamber because Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, who is pro-life, would hold a tiebreaking vote.
Burbidge called on Catholics to support good candidates, especially as they come under fire from Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups.
“We — as Catholics — we have some good candidates out there who are willing to stand up for everything we hold to be true. But they need support because they are being attacked,” he said:
It’s vicious how they’re being attacked. And what is really sad to learn is how the rest of the country knows this is a very important election in Virginia. And so Planned Parenthood, for example, is pouring millions of dollars into our election. That’s right. And so are other entities outside of Virginia as far as from California… to make sure that the candidates who are upholding the protection and sacredness of all human life are defeated.
Planned Parenthood is spending over $1.5 million in this year’s elections in Virginia. The ACLU has already spent nearly $1 million attacking pro-life candidates. Axios reported earlier this month that Democrat groups are flooding the commonwealth with millions more dollars in spending, much of it on pro-abortion advertising.
Atwell said the Church does not endorse specific candidates, and Burbidge agreed that no candidate perfectly represents the Church. But the bishop made the case that Catholics don’t actually need the Church to tell them who to vote for – they just need to use their ears.
“I think candidates are making it easier and easier for us because they’re drawing the line in the sand and you listen to them,” Burbidge said. “You listen to what candidates are saying. They draw the line in the sand, and in many ways there’s the choice between good and evil here.”
“And so, listen to what candidates are saying,” Burbidge advised. “They’re making our job easier — who it is that will really do the most good for the preborn, for the vulnerable, for the poor and for our Commonwealth.”
Atwell added: “And for religious freedom and rights of speech.”
“Exactly,” Burbidge agreed.