- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The leader of Rhode Island’s Catholics is suggesting that voters could write in Mother Teresa’s name or sit out the Nov. 4 election because the candidates aren’t “terribly promising” on the abortion issue.

In a piece posted online Wednesday in The Rhode Island Catholic diocesan newspaper, Bishop Thomas Tobin said that writing in Mother Teresa or Pope Francis in protest would send a signal that voters want anti-abortion candidates.

Tobin recently took aim at Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gina Raimondo, who is Catholic, after she spoke in favor of reproductive rights at a campaign event at Planned Parenthood in Providence. The group’s political arm endorsed her.

Raimondo’s Republican challenger, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, also supports abortion rights.

Tobin called it a “pathetic spectacle” when Catholic candidates “choose” Planned Parenthood over the church.

“Do these candidates have no respect for the religious heritage of their parents and grandparents?” he wrote.

In an interview with WPRO-AM, he said Planned Parenthood and political aspirations “come and go” but that the church is a constant, there to provide prayers and blessings and last rites for the dying.

Tobin said he wrote the piece because a parishioner contacted him before the September primary wondering what to do after she learned the candidate she planned to vote for supported abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

Tobin also suggested voters don’t necessarily need to vote for every office or at all. He also said they could support “the lesser of two evils” or a candidate with a less “extreme” position on abortion.

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