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Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro
Press Release
Contact: Kate Cyrul - 202-225-3661

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

House Democrats Release Historic Catholic Statement of Principles

Expresses Commitment to Dignity of Life and Belief that Government Has ‘Moral Purpose’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A majority of Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House led by Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn.-3) today released a statement of principles. Signed by 55 House Democrats, the statement documents how their faith influences them as lawmakers, making clear their commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching and their bearing on policy – whether it is increasing access to education for all or pressing for real health care reform, taking seriously the decision to go to war, or reducing poverty. Above all, the document expresses the signers’ commitment to the dignity of life and their belief that government has moral purpose.

The full text of the statement and the complete list of signers follow.

Statement of Principles

By Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives

As Catholic Democrats in Congress, we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition -- a tradition that promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are most in need. As legislators, in the U.S. House of Representatives, we work every day to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being. We believe that government has moral purpose.

We are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the poor and disadvantaged, protecting the most vulnerable among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country. That commitment is fulfilled in different ways by legislators but includes: reducing the rising rates of poverty; increasing access to education for all; pressing for increased access to health care; and taking seriously the decision to go to war. Each of these issues challenges our obligations as Catholics to community and helping those in need.

We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion; we do not celebrate its practice. Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term. We believe this includes promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, and improving access to children's healthcare and child care, as well as policies that encourage paternal and maternal responsibility.

In all these issues, we seek the Church's guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience. In recognizing the Church's role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas. Yet we believe we can speak to the fundamental issues that unite us as Catholics and lend our voices to changing the political debate -- a debate that often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.

As legislators, we are charged with preserving the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all Americans. In doing so, we guarantee our right to live our own lives as Catholics, but also foster an America with a rich diversity of faiths. We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties.

As Catholic Democrats who embrace the vocation and mission of the laity as expressed by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles Laici, we believe that the Church is the "people of God," called to be a moral force in the broadest sense. We believe the Church as a community is called to be in the vanguard of creating a more just America and world. And as such, we have a claim on the Church's hearing as it does on ours.

Rosa L. DeLauro
David R. Obey
Wm. Lacy Clay
Hilda L. Solis
James R. Langevin
Bart Stupak
Anna Eshoo
Bill Pascrell
Betty McCollum
Gene Taylor
Raul M. Grijalva
Carolyn McCarthy
John B. Larson
Ed Pastor
Joe Baca
William Delahunt
Tim Ryan
Silvestre Reyes
Mike Thompson
Linda T. Sanchez
Charles A. Gonzalez
Xavier Becerra
Diane Watson
Michael H. Michaud
Nydia Velazquez
Jim Marshall
Frank Pallone|
John T. Salazar
James P. McGovern
George Miller
Tim Holden
James L. Oberstar
Dale E. Kildee
Patrick J. Kennedy
Cynthia McKinney
James P. Moran
Michael Capuano
Richard E. Neal
Mike Doyle
Peter A. DeFazio
Maurice Hinchey
Dennis A. Cardoza
Joseph Crowley
Jim Costa
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Loretta Sanchez
Robert Brady
Marty Meehan
Grace Napolitano
Luis V. Gutierrez
Jose Serrano
Stephen Lynch
Edward J. Markey
Nancy Pelosi
Lane Evans

Communicate with your legislators

Priests for Life is calling all priests to sign a statement in response to the Catholic Legislators.

Click here to read the response of the US Bishops.

Click here to see how the 55 who signed the statement voted on partial-birth abortion.

Priests for Life Press Release

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-2542