.- Archbishop of San Antonio Jose Gomez has published a column in the San Antonio Express News lamenting the “troubling” absence of life and family issues in public debate. Defending the relevance of “culture of life” issues, he said they are among the “most fundamental concerns of civilization.”
“Regardless which side of these issues a person falls, these are defining principles for any society,” he wrote in his October 29 essay.
He noted that the Express News’ voter guide did not include “fundamental life issues,” adding that people need to know candidates’ positions on the “key issues that protect the right to life” such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and capital punishment.
Candidates’ position on the definition of marriage should also be a matter covered in such voter guides, Archbishop Gomez suggested.
Noting that “culture of life” issues are often “dismissed as purely religious issues,” he charged that this characterization is “inaccurate.”
“These issues deal with the most fundamental concerns of human civilization,” the archbishop explained. “The strong moral teaching at the foundation of these issues does not disqualify them from deserving serious public discussion, nor deny the impact they have on the common good.”
The labeling of abortion opponents as “one issue” voters, he argued, might keep people from confronting the “moral gravity” of taking an innocent human life.
The label “also avoids the reality that abortion is an issue that affects all segments of our society,” Archbishop Gomez continued, saying that the right to life is the “primary right” guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence.
“Unless we protect this fundamental right of each human person, at all stages of life, no other issue or liberty matters,” he stated.
“Society should not insist that people of faith be silent in the face of grave evil,” his column continued. “We live in a society that would like to privatize religion, to take it out of the public square. Privatizing religion would be for all people of faith, an unholy compromise. We who profess to believe in God cannot allow him to be banished from the public square,” the archbishop stressed.
Archbishop Gomez also said it is not his purpose, nor the purpose of the Church, to tell people how or for whom to vote.
“However, we have a responsibility to be a voice for the innocent, the helpless, for life itself at this time of political clutter. We cannot ignore these issues, many of which we believe are ‘non-negotiable.’ If our nation loses respect for life and true ‘family values’ it will have lost its moral authority to lead the world.”
Concluding by saying that America was founded upon beliefs in the dignity of the human person, in justice, and in the common good, Archbishop Gomez remarked: “All Catholics and people of faith will be praying for God’s guidance and wisdom as we celebrate our democracy.”
Archbishop Gomez's full column can be read at: