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November 20, 1998


The statement issued by the United States Catholic Bishops at their semi-annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, entitled, "Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics" presents a "challenge to the Catholic laity, especially those in public life," said Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua.

"In the face of so many direct attacks against human life, the challenge issued by the Bishops is to defend human life, in all of its dimensions, from conception to natural death. The Bishops' statement reminds all Catholics that they are called to use the power entrusted to them for the greater good, especially to protect the most vulnerable," said Cardinal Bevilacqua.

The 14-page document says some Catholic elected officials have adopted the flawed argument that, "while they personally oppose evils like abortion, they cannot force their religious views onto the wider society." "I join my fellow Bishops in reminding those in public life that what they do in the political arena on issues of basic human rights can not be different from the Truth as revealed by the laws of God. We must never support or condone an attack on innocent human life," said Cardinal Bevilacqua.

"The Bishops' statement, practically-speaking, alters no policies that we, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, have followed for many years," said Cardinal Bevilacqua.
In 1992, for example, the Archdiocese adopted a policy prohibiting public officials from being honored in any way if their voting record is contrary to the teachings of the Church.

"The Bishops' statement is not about imposing church penalties on public officials, but rather it is about calling all Catholics to carry their convictions of faith into their public as well as personal lives. Catholics are called not to accept erroneous popular opinion rather they are called to shape public opinion in accordance with the Gospel of Life," said Cardinal Bevilacqua.


Editor's Note: Attached is a copy of the Archdiocesan Guidelines Governing the Use of Church Facilities By Individuals, Groups, Or Organizations. (Issued May 1992)

Cathy Rossi
Communications Director

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