At the recently concluded gathering of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, the leaders of the Catholic faithful in the United States stood firm in naming abortion as the “preeminent” issue of our time. In this process, they not only confirmed Church teaching regarding this moral evil, but also drew attention to the false narrative of a division between the U.S. Church and Pope Francis being promoted in some circles.

As they have for many years, the U.S. bishops voted on the text of their preelection document intended to help guide Catholics in the formation of their consciences on moral issues. The document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which follows the principles laid out in Catholic social teaching, has always placed abortion among non-negotiable moral evils and given the campaign against it a primary focus.

Yet, in recent months, in the name of allegedly advancing Pope Francis’ priorities, there has been an attempt by some on the Catholic left to reduce the urgency and gravity of the fight against abortion and to place other important concerns such as the welfare of immigrants or the environment on equal moral footing. This attempt is not only wrong, but inconsistent with Pope Francis’ own words about the evil of abortion.

During the bishops’ meeting, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego flatly stated that calling abortion “preeminent” is  “discordant with the Pope’s teaching, if not inconsistent.” ….