By Bishop Michael O. Jackels
Let us not be misled by the public statements and positions of pro-abortion politicians who identify themselves as Catholics.
Some of them erroneously suggest that Church teaching on abortion is open for debate. Wrong. The Catholic Church has taught consistently and clearly that procured abortion is gravely contrary to the moral law.
From the moment of conception we are in the presence of a human being. That is when respect for the dignity of the human person begins, as well as protection of the rights to those things needed to live in dignity. The right to life is the most basic and fundamental human right and the condition for all other personal rights.
You may also hear pro-abortion Catholic politicians cite in their defense the Church’s teaching on freedom of conscience. But can you imagine the Church safeguarding the right of its members to dissent from truth or from moral goodness, especially concerning the sanctity of human life?
The Church defends freedom of conscience against forces – like a communist regime – that prevent people from forming and acting according to their consciences, especially in religious matters. Catholics on the other hand exercise this basic human freedom by forming and acting on their consciences in keeping with the Church’s teachings on faith and morals.
The Catholic Church will never cease to pray and work for the defense of the defenseless unborn child. At the same time, the Church is not indifferent to the plight of women who have abortions, or to circumstances that make it hard to choose life.
For this reason, the Church offers pardon and reconciliation in the Sacrament of Confession, as well as spiritual and psychological care for women who have had abortions through programs like Rachel’s Vineyard (for information call 316-269-HOPE).
The Church also works to reduce procured abortion and to eliminate it altogether. Catholics regularly pray for this intention. Faith formation programs teach about the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of human life, and virtuous use of human sexuality. And Church agencies, such as Catholic Charities, offer services that create alternatives to abortion.
In addition, the Church exhorts its members to take seriously our duty to vote guided by a conscience formed according to Catholic teaching, and not simply on the basis of self-interest, party affiliation, or the personal charisma of a politician. In preparation for the upcoming election, re-read the document Moral Principles for Conscientious Voters, which is available in every parish or online at www.cdowk.org/lifeandjustice under “election year guidance”.
Let us not be misled by the public statements and positions of pro-abortion politicians who identify themselves as Catholics. They are wrong.
Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper from the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.