The Church in the United States marks our annual observance of October as Respect Life Month. Although we are not to dismiss or ignore the many significant threats to human life and dignity (racism, poverty, and the like), the U.S. bishops reaffirm that “… the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.” During this month of October, let us renew our commitment to protect the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to live for children in the womb.
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has expressed his support to the Bishops of the United States in their efforts, observing that if we fail to protect life in the womb, no other rights matter. Pope Francis shares with all of us that abortion is not primarily a Catholic or even a religious issue, it is first and foremost a human rights issue.
The Right to Life, of the most vulnerable human beings – that is, infants in the womb – is always under attack; and as we approach a national election in the United States in November, it is very appropriate that Respect Life Month precedes this election because, as the Holy Father reminds us, abortion is the preeminent human rights issue.
In this bulletin you will find the first of a two-part document on the challenge of forming your conscience in order to properly fulfil your political responsibility, as a Catholic in this election. Part I of II is called “Our Call as Catholic Citizens,” and is a teaching document issued by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Part II, “Making Moral Choices and Applying Our Principles” will be published in the next bulletin.
I encourage all of you to prayerfully enter into Respect Life Month and pray for the preservation of the lives of the unborn. And I direct all of us to properly form our consciences in preparation for exercising our obligation, as Catholics, to be a voice in the public square and in the voting booth.
In Christ, through Mary the Immaculate Conception,