Gospel of Life -- Study Guide
Many Catholics ask what the Church is doing about the Catholic public
officials who promote abortion. This paragraph expresses the bishop's pastoral
duty to teach and to correct. The private call to conversion is always
the first step in dealing directly with an individual who is publicly
contradicting Church teaching. The document then leaves the door open to further
action regarding those who "refus[e] to open their minds to the Church's
witness." In June of 2004, the US bishops published a statement called
"Catholics in Political Life," which extends the thought of this paragraph.
The statement lays out clearly the fact that public officials sin against the
common good when they fail to work to correct defective laws that allow the
taking of innocent life. It stresses again the themes of teaching, persuading,
and inviting to dialogue. It then also states that "the Catholic community
and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of
our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or
platforms which would suggest support for their actions." Regarding the
question of whether bishops should deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion public
officials, that decision is left to the individual bishop.
What is the responsibility of the bishop, as described in this section?
How do the bishops prefer to deal with pro-abortion Catholic politicians?
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