A recent Facebook post by a catholic priest, using an aborted foetus, to promote Republic presidential candidate Donald Trump has sparked a moral debate. Some took to various digital platforms to condemn the act, calling it a "violation of Catholic Church canon law".
The priest, Rev. Frank Pavone, laid the aborted foetus upon an altar and posted a live video on the social networking site on Sunday (6 November) evening, calling all voters to choose Trump over rival his Hillary Clinton in the 8 November election, because Trump favours anti-abortion policies.
The video was watched more than 300,000 times as of Tuesday, 8 November and was shared more than 7,000 times.
In the 44-minute video post, Pavone said: "Today I am showing you a child who was killed by abortion and entrusted to us by a pathologist for burial. We have had a funeral for this baby, who rests in a Memorial Chapel - but 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," the anti-abortion activist from the Diocese of Amarillo in Texas wrote.
Condemning the use of the aborted foetus in the Facebook post, Ed Mechmann wrote in a blog post for the Archdiocese of New York that the act desecrated the alter of God.
"A human being has been sacrificed and the altar of God has been desecrated, all for politics," he reportedly wrote. "Everyone who respects the dignity of every human person should reject and disavow this atrocity."
Pavone's act amounted to sacrilege and a violation of Catholic Church canon law, Scott Eric Alt wrote in a blog post for digital media company Patheos. He also said that the altar was "reserved for divine worship alone, to the exclusion of any secular usage".
"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," Alt added in his blog, the Washington Post reported.
The newspaper added that a call placed to the spokesman for Pavone's diocese was not immediately returned Monday (7 November).
Readers of the post also expressed anger over the use of the aborted foetus. One reader wrote: "Using this little baby's body in this stunt is absolutely unacceptable!"
In reply, Pavone wrote: "...you know what else is absolutely unacceptable? People who get more outraged at me showing the violence of abortion than at those perpetrating it and campaigning in support of it."
"I'm a dedicated catholic... but to show a infant does not seem right. Are we that desperate to stop Hillary from winning!" wrote another Facebook user.