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Florida bishop: Voting pro-life ‘is not a matter of imposing a belief’

Bishop Felipe Estévez urged his faithful to form their consciences properly before the upcoming election.
Thu Oct 15, 2020 - 2:53 pm EST
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Bishop Felipe Estévez Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida, October 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Felipe Estévez told the faithful of the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, that voting pro-life doesn’t mean imposing one’s religious convictions on others.

“It is not a matter of imposing a belief, but of being committed to the truth about human life, which, as biological science confirms, begins at conception,” he wrote in a letter dated October 7. “Those who argue otherwise are not committed to reason, but the false belief that there are some human beings not deserving of the protection of our laws.”

“Pope Francis has made it clear that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter,” he continued. “He also said that abortion is not primarily a Catholic or even a religious issue: it is first and foremost a human rights issue.”

The letter, which all pastors of the diocese will read to their congregations on Sunday, November 1, is meant to help the faithful form their conscience on voting responsibly. Estévez singled out abortion as the preeminent threat to life for voters to consider.

The bishop cited the Declaration of Independence’s affirmation of the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

According to Estévez, the Declaration’s writers placed life first deliberately. “That they were written in this order was no mistake — even the Founding Fathers knew that the right to life surpassed all others in importance: without the right to life, none of the other rights could be protected. The right to life was, and is, preeminent.”

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He reminded the faithful that “issues of life are under attack,” mentioning permissive abortion and euthanasia laws that threaten the unborn, the vulnerable, the disabled, and the elderly. These “direct attacks on innocent human life, are all intrinsically evil — always and everywhere profoundly immoral,” he wrote. He proceeded to focus on abortion as the preeminent threat to life, stressing that “it is first and foremost a human rights issue.”

Against those who claim that “the Church is promoting single-issue voting,” he argued, “The Church will always act to promote the dignity and value of every human life from conception to natural death … We seek to promote a Culture of Life through our teaching and our ministries, some of which are threatened by the extreme positions taken by some on issues of life and the family.”

The bishops of Florida have also compiled a Presidential Candidate Comparison chart, showing where Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on some of the issues that should be important to Catholics. The positions of each candidate on abortion are listed first. Trump’s commitment to putting pro-life justices on the Supreme Court and his 2017 law allowing states to restrict Title X funding to abortion providers is contrasted with Biden’s promise to codify Roe v. Wade and to revoke the 2017 law.

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  2020 election, abortion, conscience, felipe estevez

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