Statement on Life
compiled by Catherine Fournier
The U.S. Bishops have issued a powerful, no-nonsense, clear and unambiguous statement in defense of life; Catholics are now on notice that they must defend life or risk the loss of it eternally. This "Statement on Life" was issued on November 19th at the close of the NCCB's meeting in Washington, DC. Some excerpts from US BISHOPS' STATEMENT ON LIFE at Petersnet:
ON THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY:
"Taking a distorted 'right to privacy' to new heights, and developing a new moral calculus to justify it, Roe [Roe v. Wade] has spread through the American political ecology with toxic results."
ON CATHOLIC RESPONSIBILITY:
"We cannot simultaneously commit ourselves to human rights and progress while eliminating or marginalizing the weakest among us. Nor can we practice the Gospel of life only as a private piety. American Catholics must live it vigorously and publicly, as a matter of national leadership and witness, or we will not live it at all."
ON THE ROLE OF WOMEN:
"Women have a unique role in the transmission and nurturing of human life. They can best understand the bitter trauma of abortion and the hollowness and sterility at the heart of the vocabulary of 'choice.' Therefore, we ask women to assume a special role in promoting the Gospel of life with a new pro-life feminism."
"Since the entry of Catholics into the U.S. political mainstream, believers have struggled to balance their faith with the perceived demands of democratic pluralism. As a result, some Catholic elected officials have adopted the argument that, while they personally oppose evils like abortion, they cannot force their religious views onto the wider society. This is seriously mistaken on several key counts. First, regarding abortion, the point when human life begins is not a religious belief but a scientific fact - fact on which there is clear agreement even among leading abortion advocates. Second, the sanctity of human life is not merely Catholic doctrine but part of humanity's global ethical heritage, and our nation's founding principle. Finally, democracy is not served by silence. Most Americans would recognize the contradiction in the statement, 'While I am personally opposed to slavery or racism or sexism I cannot force my personal view on the rest of society.' Real pluralism depends on people of conviction struggling vigorously to advance their beliefs by every ethical and legal means at their disposal.... Only tireless promotion of the truth about the human person can infuse democracy with the right values. This is what Jesus meant when He asked us to be leaven in society."
ON EPISCOPAL RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD PUBLIC OFFICIALS:
"As chief teachers in the Church, we must therefore explain, persuade, correct and admonish those in leadership positions who contradict the Gospel of life through their actions and policies. Catholic public officials who disregard Church teaching on the inviolability of the human person indirectly collude in the taking of innocent life."
ON THE HIERARCHY OF RIGHTS:
"Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community."
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