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By Kathleen Gilbert

ALBANY, New York, October 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The bishops of New York State have issued a document calling upon Catholics to “exercise our cherished right and our solemn duty as Americans and as Catholics” to vote to support pro-life and pro-family values.

“We Catholics are called to look at politics as we are called to look at everything – through the lens of our faith,” wrote the bishops on Wednesday.  “We should be guided in evaluating the important issues facing our state and nation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.”

The bishops highlighted the Catholic obligation to form one’s conscience, in order that Catholics may better discern which issues carry a greater moral weight.  The most important of these issues, write the bishops, is “the inalienable right to life of every innocent human person,” which “outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment.”

“The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office.”

The New York bishops also encouraged Catholics to familiarize themselves with the positions of congressional candidates.  “Our state is facing many critical issues which are of vital concern to faithful Catholics,” they advised, “and it is absolutely necessary for good citizens to pay attention to these races and to vote accordingly for the better candidates.”

The bishops’ statement also included a list of “important questions for political candidates” to help Catholics establish candidates’ positions on key issues.

Among New York Catholics, the most recent Siena Research Institute presidential poll shows Sen. McCain leading Sen. Obama, with McCain at 47% and Obama at 40%, reports TimesUnion.com. 

Among all New Yorkers, Obama leads McCain, though the margin has been shrinking since June.  Obama now leads 46% to 41%, just above the 3.9% margin of error. 

To view the New York bishops’ full statement, go to: https://www.nyscatholic.org/pages/news/show_newsDetails.asp?id=469

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