By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

OMAHA, Nebraska, October 30, 2008 ( – The Archbishop of Omaha, Most Reverend Elden F. Curtiss, has provided the people of his diocese with a clear directive on the “serious moral obligation to promote the common good by exercising our right to vote,” which he has asked pastors to make available to parishioners this weekend.

Explaining that “the core of Catholic moral and social teaching is respect for the sacred dignity of every human life,” the Archbishop joined the more than 80 Catholic prelates who have said that abortion and right to life are the defining issues in this election.

“In this election, like many before it, we are faced with a conflict of values in candidates. There are many serious issues at stake in this election, but none is more important than abortion,” he wrote. 

The archbishop quotes Mother Teresa who once pointed out, “abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships … It has portrayed the greatest of gifts – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience” (Letter to US Supreme Court, February, 1994).

Stating the need to show concern for the well-being of those in society who are hurting and in need, and especially to give help to women with unplanned pregnancies who are without the resources to give birth or to care for their babies, Archbishop Curtiss again stresses “the very first right we must protect, if all human rights are to be protected, is the right to life for the unborn. Those who do not understand or accept this basic human right are unworthy of our trust.”

The Archbishop concludes, “The stakes are high for all of us in this coming general election. It is up to us as individual voters to study the issues, examine the position of the candidates, pray before we enter the voting booth, and then cast our ballot in accord with consciences that are formed by the values and principles of our Catholic faith.”

In a related statement, Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, already having proclaimed abortion and the life issues to be the defining issues in the upcoming election, has requested, together with the other Bishops of Missouri, a week of prayer leading up to the election – “a week of prayer for the protection of Human Life.”

Bishop Finn also touched on Sen. Obama’s support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

“Our Catholic moral principles teach that a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity is insufficient to justify their constant support of abortion laws, including partial-birth abortion, and infanticide for born-alive infants,” the Bishop writes.

“Promotion of the Freedom of Choice Act is a pledge to eliminate every single limit on abortions achieved over the last thirty-five years. The real freedom that is ours in Jesus Christ compels us, not to take life, but to defend it.”

The Bishop asks that the faithful to “pray and make some sacrifices for our country,” especially invoking “the Guardian Angels of 47 million babies lost through abortion in our country in the last thirty-five years. This horrendous loss of life remains one of the greatest threats to human civilization we have ever faced.”

Link to text of Archbishop Curtiss’ statement:

Link to Bishop Finn’s request for prayer:

Read related coverage:

Over 80 Bishops Say Abortion/Life Issues Defining Issues of Election

U.S. Bishops Come out Swinging against Abortion, Pro-Abort Politicians