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Iowa bishop takes out newspaper ad to urge pro-life vote

Catholic World News - November 06, 2012

Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City purchased a half-page ad in the Sunday edition of the Sioux City Journal to urge readers to vote pro-life.

“How we vote in the upcoming election is of the utmost importance,” said the ad in the state’s fourth-largest newspaper. “Even our salvation may depend on it. Many moral and prudential issues are at stake, and Catholics are not single-issue voters. But one issue stands above all in its gravity and its consequences.”

The ad continued:

Abortion is our nation’s gravest injustice The blood of 55 million murdered babies “cries out to heaven for justice.” It is always gravely sinful to support or condone abortion. Abortions’ mere legality corrupts our culture, our government, and the rule of law.

As you vote this year you have a chance to speak up for the defenseless unborn. Your vote can save innocent lives.

Supporting the dignity of all human life I remain your bother in Christ.

(signed) +R. Walker Nickless Bishop Walker Nickless Diocese of Sioux City

Emphasizing the evil of abortion, Bishop Nickless also discussed other issues in a separate letter posted on the diocesan web site. He wrote:

We must make our faith the foundation of our political life. The Gospel implies clear priorities for the social order, and identifies clear evils that cannot be supported or condoned by our silence or imprudent choices. And because there can be no separation between faith and life, voting for something contrary to the tenets of faith in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ may be a serious sin.

The gravest, most urgent, and most destructive evil of our time is abortion. As Catholics, this is our most important issue. The scale of abortion’s evil is unprecedented: 55 million American babies murdered since 1973, along with tens of millions more in other countries, and uncountable lives of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters twisted or broken by guilt and grief. The scope of abortion’s consequences on society and the economy is also vast: laws and the rule of law corrupted, justice denied, politics twisted and embittered, an unbridgeable gulf dividing our nation, marriages and families destroyed, productive workers eliminated, and on and on. As long as abortion is legal, the slaughter and the injustice will continue. It is imperative for our faith, that we as Catholics witness boldly against both the appalling fact of abortions, and the corrosive legality of abortion.

The second most urgent evil is the erosion of religious freedom, both at home and abroad. Just as the right to life is the foundation of all other rights, so religious freedom is the foundation of all other freedoms. The state must protect the rights of citizens to live according to their own conscience (within the limits of order and justice; one’s conscience cannot justify one in theft or murder, for example). The state must protect the freedom of religious groups and institutions to practice, and even of individuals to live the requirements of their own faith at all times (again within the limits of order and justice; human sacrifice, for example, is not something that can be tolerated as “freedom of religion”).

In addition to these two priorities, there are four other “non-negotiable” issues of the first order for Catholics. We cannot be complicit in or condone euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, or so-called same-sex “marriage.”

How we choose to vote as Catholics must respect these six highest priorities, and must clearly oppose the corresponding evils. I encourage everyone who is eligible to vote, if you have not already done so by an early or absentee ballot, to vote according to a well-formed and devout Catholic conscience this coming Tuesday. Above all, pray for our country and our elected and appointed leaders, whoever they may be.

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