ARCHDIOCESE OF DETROIT
1234 WASHINGTON BLVD.
DETROIT, MICHIGAN 40226
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
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
Your brother in the Lord,
Adam Cardinal Maida
Archbishop of Detroit