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Letter to the Archdiocese of Detroit

 

Dear Father: Cardinal Maida asks that this letter be read at all Masses on Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6:

October 5-6, 2002

My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

Our annual Respect Life observance takes on special meaning and significance this October 2002 as we continue to remember with sorrow last year's terrorist attacks, and as we prepare for next month's election. Daily, we hear reports of many forms of violence and abuse to human life near and far. Now more than ever, we recognize that the gift of life is precious, yet very fragile.

As we reflect on the wide-scale violent abuse of life, we cannot help but be dismayed that over one million lives are being lost each year to abortion. Struggling with where and how to change the minds and hearts of our fellow citizens, we find direction from the bishops of our country who have written in our National Pastoral Plan for Life: "We must begin with a commitment never to intentionally kill or collude in the killing of any innocent human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled, or desperate that life may seem. "

Catholic public officials have a special moral obligation to understand and accept wholeheartedly the Church's teaching on the dignity of innocent human life; they may never advocate for, or actively support, legislation which would allow direct attacks on innocent human life. When it is impossible to overturn or prevent passage of a law which allows or promotes abortion, an elected official should always seek to limit the harm done by such laws. Nor can Catholic political leaders justify inaction with regard to the dignity of human life simply on the grounds that abortion is the law of the land, because ultimately, there is a higher law, the law of God.

These basic truths about right and wrong must shape our political judgments and our decisions about how we vote. The charge laid upon me by Christ compels me to speak to these issues and underscore the questions that each of us has to consider between now and election day: What is the candidate's commitment to supporting quality health care benefits and educational opportunity of all, especially the poor and the vulnerable? Where does the candidate stand on the death penalty? And most importantly, where does the candidate stand on abortion, described by the Michigan Catholic Conference as the "preeminent threat to human dignity because it directly attacks life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others."

In closing, I thank you for your personal and family witness to life, a commitment that has characterized our local Church of Detroit for 170 years. Over the decades, we have made a powerful impact on the wider society precisely because we have presented a unified and respectful voice on behalf of the dignity of all human life. Together, may we join minds, hands, and hearts in a renewed commitment to defend and promote the dignity of life, God's greatest gift!

Your brother in the Lord,

Adam Cardinal Maida

Archbishop of Detroit

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org