From the Bishops All must understand the seriousness of the Freedom of Choice Act

The Freedom of Choice Act "violates the consciences of those who are opposed to abortion" and would, if it became law, force the Catholic Church to "enter into civil disobedience and refuse to follow the law", Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, said Sunday, Jan. 25.

The bishop spoke about the Freedom of Choice Act (referred to as FOCA) during a Jan. 25 Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo, N.D. Those attending the Mass, and other Masses throughout the Diocese of Fargo, which encompasses the eastern half of North Dakota, received postcards they were asked to complete for mailing to Sen. Byron Dorgan, Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy. The message on the postcards asked the Congressmen to "oppose FOCA or any similar measure, and retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion."

The Diocese of Bismarck, which includes Catholic churches in the western half of North Dakota, also participated in the postcard campaign by distributing the postcards through their diocesan newspaper. The postcards were made available by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Aquila noted that FOCA threatens the freedom of Catholic hospitals and Catholic physicians to act according to Church teachings on abortion. If federal law required Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, "there is no bishop in the country who is going to permit a Catholic hospital to do that," Bishop Aquila said. "Either the hospitals will be closed or we will enter into civil disobedience and refuse to follow the law. And if we go to jail, we go to jail. That is how serious this is."

Bishop Aquila said FOCA would not only "nullify over 18 laws of our own state, but it will violate the conscience and will violate the freedom of religious practice."

In a column written shortly after Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, Bishop Aquila noted that Obama’s voting record and speeches reveal "he is one of the strongest supporters of legalized abortion, as well as the Freedom of Choice Act." Bishop Aquila wrote that Obama "directly opposes the divine law of God concerning the dignity of each human life, and so he strongly disagrees with the position of the Catholic Church. On a purely political level, he even disagrees with the majority of Americans, who at least want some limits on abortion."

During his Jan. 25 statement, Bishop Aquila again referred to Obama’s stance on abortion. "It is important for every Catholic, regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, whether it is Republican or Democrat, whether you voted for Obama or you didn’t vote for Obama, it is essential for every Catholic, if they are truly Catholic and of Christ, to stand up for life and the dignity of life."

"Yes, we as bishops have drawn a line in the sand with this," he concluded. "No matter what the cost, we will always proclaim the gift and the dignity of human life."

Bishop Aquila’s column referenced in the press release can be found at:

Printed with permission from the Diocese of Fargo.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.