In a pre-election letter released on October 31, Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington discussed grave threats to religious liberty and, quoting the Second Vatican Council, emphasized the “unspeakable crime of abortion.”
“We face serious threats to our very ability to practice and live our faith in our communities as full citizens,” he stated. “We are first Catholics, not Democrats or Republicans, and recognizing our Catholic identity and the immutable truths of our faith, we must make the best decision we can according to our consciences, properly informed by the Church’s official teaching.”
“While, as I have noted often, there are many issues that command our attention as Catholics, some challenges are so grave as to demand our focus, our serious reflection and our responsible decisions,” he continued. “Abortion is no abstract topic or public policy issue without consequence in the present elections. The party platforms and political advertisements we see and hear each today confirm that the lives of the unborn, the weakest and most innocent amongst us, are still squarely in the public debate, and our votes do have consequences with respect to this ‘unspeakable crime,’ both here at home and in nations abroad. If we do not defend life at its beginning at conception, then there is no life for us to develop and protect thereafter. It is the first right.”
Bishop Loverde added:
As I have attempted to make clear all year, the ability of the Church to live fully its mission as Christ’s Church is directly infringed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring Church institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. To date, there has been no change, solution or accommodation to the policy announced in January, thereby forcing Church institutions, and indeed all Catholic business owners, to provide reproductive services that violate our conscience. The Church’s charitable, educational and healthcare ministries are and continue to be clearly threatened by this draconian requirement that assaults our First Amendment rights as free citizens. However an individual votes this November, that decision will have a specific impact on religious liberty, which is the first freedom.
As Catholics, we must recognize that the defense of religious liberty is necessary if we, as individuals and as a Church, are to preserve our ability to practice in our daily lives and in the public square all that we profess at Mass each Sunday.
With special thanks to http://www.catholcculture.org