A bipartisan group of six former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See has joined together to support presidential candidate Mitt Romney and is calling on other Catholics to do the same.

The ambassadors said on July 31 that despite their own political differences, they all believe that Mitt Romney "can be a great force for good in this nation."

They explained that they are united in their support of Romney's candidacy by the conviction that all Catholics are "called to advance the moral teachings of Christianity in the life of our country."

Former ambassadors Frank Shakespeare, Tom Melady, Ray Flynn, Jim Nicholson, Francis Rooney and Mary Ann Glendon are the new national co-chairs of the Catholics for Romney coalition.

In a letter to fellow Catholics, the ambassadors said that while they are Democrats, Independents and Republicans, they are "united in faith and in action" with regards to the upcoming election.
"Where the stakes are highest – in the defense of life, liberty, and human dignity – we have a duty to act that is greater and more urgent than allegiance to any political party," they explained.
The former diplomats – whose years of service range from 1986 to 2009 – said that no matter which issues become the focus of the presidential campaign in coming months, "our concerns lie with fundamental rights, beginning with religious liberty."

The ambassadors observed that the Obama administration "has brought our first freedom under direct assault by imposing government mandates that completely disregard religious conscience."

Primary among these threats is a new requirement that will force employers to offer health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their religious convictions.

In contrast, the diplomats said, "Governor Romney believes that freedom to live one's faith is essential to liberty and human fulfillment." They noted that he has "pledged himself to removing those federal mandates immediately."

Furthermore, they noted, "the current administration has now put its weight on the side of those who propose to redefine the meaning of marriage itself." However, Romney "stood firm in defending this sacred institution" during his time as governor of Massachusetts.
The ambassadors also defended Romney's pro-life stance, arguing that while "the current administration has shown its sympathy for the pro-abortion lobby, Mitt Romney will be a faithful defender of life in all its seasons."

Critics of Romney remain skeptical about his claim to have had a conversion to a pro-life position in 2004, after confronting the issue of embryonic stem cell research and realizing that it was wrong to create a human life simply to destroy it.
However his supporters point to his consistent pro-life record as governor of Massachusetts to show that his pro-life convictions are sincere.

The ambassadors also cited Romney's recent statement that "there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action."
This statement recognizes the important role and "special duty" of faithful individuals and organizations, they argued.

"We urge our fellow Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, to join with us in this full-hearted effort to elect Governor Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States," they said.