.- The Executive Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia has issued a statement calling on Catholics not to let themselves be confused by a campaign to discredit the Church and to understand the urgency of not compromising in the defense of life.
The statement denounces the openly pro-abortion mentality that is spreading in the country and demands that the conscientious objection of health care professionals opposed to abortion be respected. It likewise reiterates that Catholics who participate in abortions are excommunicated.
“We are fully confident that amidst the confusion created by pro-abortion proposals and the campaign to discredit the Church, the Catholic faithful will come to understand the reasons why we are decidedly pro-life,” the bishops said.
They criticized the ruling by the Constitutional Court—the equivalent of the US Supreme Court—which said the right to life is not absolute and must be considered in light of other values, principles and rights.
The bishops reiterated that conscientious objection to abortion expressed by health care professionals and other must be respected, as “civil law cant never be a substitute for conscience nor dictate norms that exceed its competence, which is to ensure the common good of persons through the recognition and defense of their fundamental rights,” they said.
“Therefore, those justices that do not recognize man’s rights or trample upon them are not derelict of duty, their rulings carry no force at all,” the bishops added.
They expressed their full support of all health care professionals who refuse to participate in abortion for reasons of conscience. “Doctors are at the service of life and not death,” they underscored. “This ethical principle is valid not only Catholic professionals but for all those who have made the Hippocratic oath their own: I will have absolute respect for human life from the moment of conception.”
The bishops noted likewise that those who participate in abortions, according to Canon Law, are automatically excommunicated whenever the necessary conditions are met: “the person must be over the age of 16 and have done so with full knowledge and consent, free from grave fear or pressure, that is, freely and voluntarily.”
“With this punishment the Church seeks to call the attention of baptized Catholics to the seriousness of abortion and to prevent the offense from being committed,” they said.