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A needed clarification Faith Matters

Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, MI

October 17, 2008

An article from the Catholic News Service (CNS) on the presidential candidates that appeared in the last issue of The U.P. Catholic has caused great concern among some of the faithful of the diocese. The article, written by Dennis Sadowski of CNS, seriously misrepresented the teachings of the U.S. Bishops’ document on “Faithful Citizenship” and may cause confusion for Catholic voters. I consider it my responsibility to set the record straight.

Sister Simone Campbell is quoted in the article as saying that she believes Senator Obama is in a better position to reduce the number of abortions in this country because he plans to fund health care programs that would enable women to carry their children to term. She states that many women turn to abortion because they lack access to prenatal care and the economic means to support a child.

Sister Simone said that Senator Obama’s call for each person to work for a change in the direction this country is headed is really what the U.S. bishops say about the responsibility of citizenship and is in keeping with what the bishops say is our moral responsibility to be involved.

As one of those bishops, I beg to differ. As important as adequate health care for the poor is, her statement grossly oversimplifies and misrepresents the message of “Faithful Citizenship.”

What Sister did not say is that, as recently as February 2008, Senator Obama was credited by Planned Parenthood of the Chicago area as having a “100 percent pro-choice voting record in both the U.S. Senate and the Illinois Senate.” His commitment to ensuring that abortion rights in this country continue is well documented.

I say this neither to be at all politically partisan, nor to be aligned with any particular special interest group in this country, nor to tell you for whom to vote. I would say the same thing no matter who was in the spotlight. My only “special interest” is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as faithfully handed on to us by the Church. This includes the Gospel of Life and our need to do everything we can to defeat the culture of death.

Rather, I say this so that people may know the truth and not be misled by those who would misrepresent the U.S. Bishops’ teaching, as I believe Sister Simone has done.

I repeat, as the bishops teach in “Faithful Citizenship”: “There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called ‘intrinsically evil’ actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, ‘abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others’ (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.” (FC, 22)

Say “NO” to Proposal 2 In this light, I wish to remind all Catholic voters that we are under a serious moral obligation to do everything we can to defeat Proposal 2 on the November ballot here in Michigan. This proposal would allow for the unregulated destruction of human embryos.

The logic is very simple. We may NEVER directly take the life of an innocent human being. A human embryo is a unique human life in its most nascent and vulnerable form. Therefore, to allow for destructive embryonic stem cell research is a grave moral evil and a direct attack upon innocent human life. No end, I repeat, NO END justifies an evil means to achieve it.

Proposal 2 must be opposed. To vote in favor of it is to vote in favor of directly taking innocent human life. This would be the moral equivalent of formal cooperation in evil.

Please do everything you can to encourage your family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances to defeat this attack on life. Let us together keep ourselves from furthering the culture of death.


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