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Living the Gospel of Life -- Study Guide

Paragraph Twenty-nine

Reflection

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.

Discussion Questions

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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