Bishop John Stowe on Forming Consciences

Man Reading Paper by KaboomPics
Man Reading Paper by KaboomPics

It’s hard to move to a new place. It’s hard enough when it’s just across town, but it’s so much harder when it’s to a new diocese. And excruciatingly difficult when you leave a diocese after working closely with a good and holy Bishop whom you love (In the mass, I still instinctively say “And Edward our Bishop”).

But today I picked up a copy of our diocesan newspaper and found that Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv. has made it a little easier to love Kentucky.

My mailbox has been flooded lately with very sincere…letters about the need for the church to be more vocal on pro-life issues in the election. The problem with the content of this mail is that it is more anti-abortion than it is pro-life. It does not see the preservation of the environment or the interrelationship of all life, as articulated so well in ‘Laudato Si,’ as a value to be brought to the ballot box. It does not see that racism and discrimination against groups of people based on ethnicity or religion are not pro-life positions. Is it really pro-life to consider the Second Amendment as an absolute good, regardless of how many lives are tragically ended? Is it pro-life to promote policies that cut social services that assist families headed by the working poor, in order to make more wealth for the most wealthy? Is it pro-life to promote war as a solution and speak cavalierly about the use of nuclear weapons? Is it pro-life to speak of walls built to keep out human beings whose labor is needed and who need to provide for their families?

Sadly, the Democratic Party has gone further than ever in its insistence that abortion on demand is a right and even advocates the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the government from paying for most abortion procedures. The once small but vocal group of pro-life Democrats is all but silenced. We must denounce this callous disregard for the sanctity of unborn human life. There are also grave concerns about how a Democratic administration would further the enforcement of practices which do not respect the consciences of people for whom practices, e.g., paying for birth control, accommodating same-sex marriages, are a violation of their beliefs.

But it must also be said that while the Republican Party platform contains an anti-abortion plank, which we applaud, the current Republican presidential nominee has been a life-long abortion supporter and Planned Parenthood enthusiast. His remarks about people from Mexico, about Muslims, about women, and the incorporation of blatantly racist “alt-right” groups into his campaign should be causes for serious concern.

Read the rest on page 2 of the October 9th issue of Crossroads.

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