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Pastoral Letter from Bishop Larry Silva

Published in Catholic Hawaii
October 19, 2008

Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu, HI


Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Diocese of Honolulu:

Peace be with you!

We are all probably very weary of the Presidential campaigns by now. We have heard debates and speeches, seen blogs, read newspaper articles, and seen opinion polls. No matter what the polls may have said at any given moment, there is only one opinion poll that matters, and that is the vote itself. One of the candidates will emerge victorious because of the people who supported him with their votes.

I urge all of you to cast your vote on November 4. It is our civic responsibility. But I ask you in these final days before the election to pray over the choices, to reflect upon the values of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to make an informed choice.

There are many issues to consider: war, the economy, ecology, the stability of the family, health care, education, the elimination of poverty at home and abroad. Among the many issues to be weighed, however, one issue alone far outweighs all others: the right to life. Without life, all other issues do not matter. It is the right to life that is fundamental. Abortion in a special way is an issue that we need to focus on, since it is a violation of the human rights of human beings who are so vulnerable they cannot speak for or defend themselves. It is the most widespread – and the only legal – form of domestic violence. It is a cancer that erodes our respect for one another in many different ways. It is a hidden source of anger, depression and denial for those who cannot admit what they know in their heart of hearts, that it is the deliberate taking of the life of a real human girl or boy.

I have often heard the slogan, “You cannot legislate morality.” It is meant to say that there are different opinions and no law can make people do what is right. However, I think the slogan is false. If we cannot legislate morality, then what is it we do legislate? Why is there a need for government at all, if not to articulate and guide society in doing what is right and just? Is that not what morality is? Respect for one another, and the most fundamental respect for life are the bases of all morality and all law. All government officials must serve not by doing what is convenient or popular, but by insisting on higher values for the good of all in society, especially the most vulnerable.

I urge all to vote. But before you do, please pray about what the Lord wants us to do in our society, about what the gospel of Jesus demands. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pray for the strength to do what is right not only in the election but in the years that will follow it, so that we can all remain citizens who are faithful to the Lord and Giver of Life.

What was said or not said during this long campaign matters only now in how it leads us to vote for our new President and other leaders of government. May the Lord enlighten and guide you!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

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