On February 28, 2006, 55 members of the US House of
Representatives signed a “Catholic
Statement of Principles.” They claim to be “committed to…protecting the most
vulnerable among us.” Yet most of the signers oppose a ban on partial-birth
abortion. Click here to see the voting records.
In response, the bishops have issued
Priests for Life responded by asking priests to sign the appeal below.
A strong showing of priests behind this appeal made it clear to
“pro-choice” legislators that they cannot continue use their ‘Catholicism’ to
make their abortion positions more acceptable. The statement was
delivered to the legislators and the media.
Appeal to our Public Officials
The Catholic Church, and we as Catholic
priests, are pro-life in the most comprehensive sense of the term. We proclaim
and call our people to work for a just society that safeguards human life and
dignity at every stage and in every circumstance. All life issues are
interconnected, and one cannot claim to respect life at one stage but throw it
away at another.
That is why Pope John Paul II, in
Christifideles Laici, declared, ‘Above all, the common outcry, which is
justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to
home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to
life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other
personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination’ (n. 38). That
is also why the United States Bishops wrote in 1998:
“The failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders
suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters” (Living the
Gospel of Life , n.23).
To all Catholics in public office who want to
be committed to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we appeal today:
Take to heart the words of the bishops and the Holy Father, and do not exclude
unborn children from the vulnerable people you want to protect! As priests
committed to a consistent ethic of life, we applaud every effort to advance
human dignity. But we likewise oppose the attempt of some in public office to
soften the contradiction between being Catholic and being “pro-choice” on
abortion. Tolerance of abortion not only contradicts the Catholic Faith; it also
contradicts the American way, which is one of equality for every human being,
and likewise contradicts human decency, which stands against all forms of
violence. There is simply no excuse for a public official to fail to call for
the protection of the lives of the youngest infants.
Fr. Frank's Column
on the Separation of Church and State