One of the most prominent things we can do to advance a culture of life is to learn about the public policy positions that affect life and to advocate for laws that protect life whenever we can. In doing so, we are not forcing our faith upon others or confusing church with state, but rather honoring the fact that laws are based upon justice and the common good of all people – including the unborn, the handicapped, and the dying. Faith reveals what our minds already tell us about the dignity of life. As the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities so poignantly explains:
Protecting and promoting the inviolable rights of persons is the most solemn responsibility of civil authority. As Americans and as religious leaders we are committed to governance by a system of law that protects human rights and maintains the common good.
We are reminded that “the Church must be committed to the task of educating and supporting lay people involved in law-making, government and the administration of justice, so that legislation will always reflect those principles and moral values which are in conformity with a sound anthropology and advance the common good” (The Church in America, no. 19, quoting Synod for America, proposition 72).
We cannot simultaneously commit ourselves to human rights and progress while eliminating or marginalizing the weakest among us. Nor can we practice the Gospel of life only as a private piety. American Catholics must live it vigorously and publicly, as a matter of national leadership and witness, or we will not live it at all.
A public policy program requires well-planned and coordinated advocacy by citizens at the national, state, and local levels. Such activity is not solely the responsibility of Catholics but instead requires widespread cooperation and collaboration on the part of groups large and small, religious and secular. As U.S. citizens and religious leaders, we see a critical moral imperative for public policy efforts to ensure the protection of human life. We urge our fellow citizens to see the justice of this cause and to work with us to achieve these objectives.
To educate yourself and others on public policy issues related to life, and to engage in advocacy directly related to supporting life, please consider visiting some of the following websites.