.- Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput and Denver’s Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley have issued a statement insisting that Catholic teaching holds that human life is sacred from the moment of fertilization, calling claims insisting otherwise, reportedly made by the governor of Colorado, “bad theology and bad public policy.”
Governor Bill Ritter, who is Catholic, on Tuesday commented on the Colorado ballot measure Amendment 48, which would define personhood as beginning at conception.
He reportedly said: “My understanding is that there are things about calling a fertilized egg a person that do not square with Church doctrine.”
“This is false,” Denver’s bishops said in a Wednesday statement. “Catholic teaching holds that human life is sacred from the moment of fertilization, commonly called ‘conception,’ to the moment of natural death.
“Separating a ‘fertilized egg’ from the dignity of human personhood is bad theology and bad public policy. And Catholic public officials should know better,” they wrote.
Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Conley also clarified their approach to Amendment 48, saying it has been “a source of confusion for many Catholics and other members of the Colorado prolife community.”
The bishops said Catholics are free to support or oppose the amendment, calling it a “prudential matter,” adding that the bishops “do not support” the proposal.
They noted that the Colorado Catholic Conference had previously outlined “problems with its strategy,” referencing a June 5 letter from Colorado’s bishops which argued the amendment “does not provide a realistic opportunity for ending or even reducing abortions in Colorado.” The bishops worried the Supreme Court would not hear any legal case concerning the amendment or could even reaffirm the pro-abortion rights jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade.
“Catholics are not required by Church teaching to support Amendment 48. But they are required to respect the personhood of the developing child from life’s earliest beginning,” Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Conley said in their Wednesday statement.
“In that light, Governor Bill Ritter seriously confused the Amendment 48 debate.”