This Sunday is “Respect Life Sunday,” and as Catholics in the United States, we observe the month of October as a time to “focus on God’s precious gift of human life and our responsibility to care for, protect, and defend the lives of our brothers and sisters” (www.usccb.org). “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.”
There are, however, “other serious threats to human life and dignity” such as racism, use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war, human trafficking, redefining civil marriage and environmental degradation. This statement comes from a summary of the US Bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” The full document is available as a PDF from www.usccb.org and the four-page summary document is available in the breezeway of the church.
Catholic bishops and priests do not–or should not– tell us how to vote; the responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her properly formed conscience, aided by the virtue of prudence. As election day draws near, I encourage everyone to read at least the summary document mentioned above; it provides a way to work through the confusing and challenging issues that we are faced with when trying to vote according to our well- formed consciences. Ask Our Heavenly Father to guide us as we make some very difficult choices, praying all the while, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Father Brent Crowe