November 6,1994 / The Sooner Catholic / Page 2
The Good News...
By Most Reverend Eusebius J. Beltran
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Next Tuesday we, the people of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, will be
joining with millions of other American citizens to cast our vote. At least I
hope that we, the people of the archdiocese, will indeed exercise this privilege
which is also a right and a duty. Unfortunately many eligible citizens fail to
vote thereby allowing others to determine the direction our communities and
When we were baptized, we received a share in the life of the Triune God. We
were reborn. Through this new life with the Lord, we were enabled to sanctify
every aspect of our daily living. We could better appreciate the gift of life
itself and therefore are more strongly obliged to respect every human being
created in the Image and Likeness of God.
There are some who complain whenever the Church, or a bishop or a priest,
addresses the societal issues of our day. However, as American citizens and
members of local communities and states, it is our duty to participate fully in
the process of government. It is therefore both an obligation and a right for
the Church to speak out and give us direction. Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne,
Wyoming, recently wrote a letter to the people of his diocese urging them to
vote pro-life. I completely concur with Bishop Hart who clearly states Church
teaching. I am happy we are able to share that letter with you by printing it on
page one of our newspaper.
Several years ago, I remember being criticized for urging people to vote
pro-life. I was accused of being a "single issue voter." On reflection, that's
not a bad designation. If one issue is big enough and important enough and
capable of overshadowing other issues, then it should be addressed. If one issue
is so fundamental that it affects every other issue, then it should be given
prominence. If one issue perpetrates a grave injustice to anyone, then it has to
be stopped. If one issue is a matter of life or death, then life has to be
chosen. The one issue that is reflected in each of these situations is abortion.
Therefore I am proud to be called a "single issue voter" in this regard for
there is no other issue as basic, as fundamental and as urgent.
Abortion is the most serious and critical problem we are faced with today.
Elsewhere in this paper, on page six, you can read an excellent explanation of
this single-most important issue. Abortion is the underlying foundation for many
of our modern-day societal ills.
On the other hand, when one is totally opposed to abortion and therefore
rightly makes the judgement to vote only for pro-life candidates, the decision
is not made in a vacuum. Logic tells us that decisions result in consequences.
Hence the Church has always taught the ramifications that accompany the decision
to be pro-life. Thus parents have a responsibility not only to beget children,
but also to nurture them, to care for them, to instruct them and bring them up
to a responsible adulthood. Christians have also been challenged to care for the
poor, the needy and the lonely. Our hospitals, orphanages, shelters and nursing
homes all testify to this tradition of care and concern. Being pro-life and
anti-abortion is truly much more than narrowing it down to a single issue.
As a human being, I am against abortion because it is death, it is unjust, it
is violent, it is wrong, it is sinful. How then can I support a candidate who
supports abortion alleging to be "pro-choice?" I cannot!
Next Tuesday we will have an opportunity to make a difference by our vote. We
will be able to save lives by voting for pro-life candidates. Our cities, our
state, our country will only be as good as the people we elect to govern us.
Therefore, let us call forth those who respect the life of every human being
from conception to natural death. Call forth those who respect God as the Author
of all life.
Statements of other Bishops on Abortion