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For Catholics, abortion issue can't be overshadowed

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Mr. DuBord's 11/6/08 letter to the editor leaves out some important considerations in criticizing church leaders for advocating pro-life voting.

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Regarding the development of conscience, the Roman Catholic Church does indeed teach the responsibility to develop our consciences, but it must be informed by the teaching authority of the Church. This means you are not free to be a Catholic politician and claim that your conscience allows you to promote abortion, which is directly opposed to the teaching of the Church. Many Church documents explain that while other issues are important, they cannot overshadow the importance of protecting life in the first place.

(The 50,000,000 aborted Americans since Roe v Wade do not have the luxury of considering the other important issues of the day.) Bishops and priests who promote pro-life voting are not muffling your ability to form your conscience; they are helping you see the importance of promoting life.

The Bishops' letter "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" explains this: "Two temptations in public life can distort the Church's defense of human life and dignity: The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. 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."

The second temptation is ignoring the other social justice issues. If you feel your candidate is so much better on those issues despite his support for abortion, you perhaps could make a case for voting for him. The majority of Catholic voters did indeed do just that. (If they voted for Obama because of his support for abortion, they have not formed their consciences adequately.) In his campaign, President-elect Obama promised Planned Parenthood that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) into law.

This would make abortion availability the law of the land, tax supported, and not allow health care workers to not participate because of their conscience. Perhaps the Catholics who voted for him will now see an obligation to oppose his support of this law. FOCA is as against Catholic social teaching as a law can be. As a health care worker who would be affected by this legislation, I would welcome your vocal and public opposition to FOCA.

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Jeff Blickenstaff, Perham

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