Skip to main content


On Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life - U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

3/13/2006 - 5:15 AM PST

Advertisment

"Must Act Seriously and Responsibly on Many Important Moral Issues"

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 13, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the "Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life" issued Friday by the U.S. bishops' conference.

* * *

A recent public statement by 55 Catholic and Democratic members of the House of Representatives offers an opportunity to address several important points about the responsibilities of Catholics in public life.

We welcome this and other efforts that seek to examine how Catholic legislators bring together their faith and their policy choices. As the Catholic bishops of the United States said in our June 2004 statement, "Catholics in Political Life": "We need to do more to persuade all people that human life is precious and human dignity must be defended. This requires more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials, especially Catholic public officials. We welcome conversation initiated by political leaders themselves."

Therefore, we welcome the representatives' recognition that Catholics in public life must act seriously and responsibly on many important moral issues. Our faith has an integral unity that calls Catholics to defend human life and human dignity whenever they are threatened. A priority for the poor, the protection of family life, the pursuit of justice and the promotion of peace are fundamental priorities of the Catholic moral tradition which cannot be ignored or neglected. We encourage and will continue to work with those in both parties who seek to act on these essential principles in defense of the poor and vulnerable.

At the same time, we also need to reaffirm the Catholic Church's constant teaching that abortion is a grave violation of the most fundamental human right -- the right to life that is inherent in all human beings, and that grounds every other right we possess.

Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation on the vocation and mission of the laity, "Christifideles Laici," which the representatives' statement cites, declares: "The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. 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 determinationů. The human being is entitled to such rights, in every phase of development, from conception until natural death; and in every condition, whether healthy or sick, whole or handicapped, rich or poor" (38).

While it is always necessary to work to reduce the number of abortions by providing alternatives and help to vulnerable parents and children, Catholic teaching calls all Catholics to work actively to restrain, restrict and bring to an end the destruction of unborn human life.

As the Church carries out its central responsibility to teach clearly and to help form consciences, and as Catholic legislators seek to act in accord with their own consciences, it is essential to remember that conscience must be consistent with fundamental moral principles. As members of the Church, all Catholics are obliged to shape our consciences in accord with the moral teaching of the Church.

As bishops, we too are bound by our own consciences to teach faithfully and to recommit ourselves to continued reflection and discussion on how Catholic faith and public service can work together to promote human life and dignity and advance the common good. Through dialogue, especially the irreplaceable dialogue between Catholic political leaders and their own bishops, we hope to promote a better understanding of how the Church's teaching on human life and dignity challenges us all.

Cardinal William Keeler
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Pro Life Activities

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick
Chairman, USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Domestic Policy

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Catholic, Politics, Life, Public, US, Bishops

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:12-22
do not forget, I say, that you were at that time separate from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
His saving help is near for those who fear him, his glory will ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
'See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit. Be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 21 Saint of the Day

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... Read More