Bishop Prays for Obama’s Conversion

Calls on Catholics to Integrate Faith and Politics

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FARGO, North Dakota, NOV. 17, 2008 ( The next months will require tireless work from Catholics in order to preserve the fundamental right to life, and from priests to make Church teaching known, says a U.S. prelate.

Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo affirmed this in a column written for the November issue of New Earth, his diocesan newspaper.

He congratulated president-elect Barack Obama, and assured him of prayers for «the conversion of his heart and mind to recognize the dignity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death and the truth that no government has the right to legalize abortion.»

Observing Obama’s voting record and his public support of the Freedom of Choice Act, the prelate asserted that the president-elect opposes the position of the Catholic Church. He added: «On a purely political level, he even disagrees with the majority of Americans, who at least want some limits on abortion.

«The Church, and most especially bishops and priests, will need to make the teaching of the Church known to every Catholic.»

Clear teaching

Bishop Aquila wrote about letters he received expressing a desire for more outspoken and clear teaching on abortion. He stated, «Catholics need to promote the Gospel of Life and understand, as Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessors have made definitive and clear, that the question of the moral legality of abortion is non-negotiable. It is always and everywhere wrong, and this moral truth must be enshrined in law in every civil society.»

He addressed the misunderstandings that he encountered regarding a Catholic’s role faced to abortion. «Abortion is an intrinsic evil,» he explained, «which means that in no circumstance is it permitted nor may it ever be supported, even as a means to a good end.»

The prelate reiterated the message of other U.S. bishops, on the central and primary importance of the issue of human life among the many other political issues to be weighed in the balance.

Faith in politics

The bishop addressed the misunderstanding about the relationship between the Church and the state, and more particularly, how each Catholic is called to live his faith in daily life and political decisions. He lamented the removal of «religious and moral values from the public square,» observing that «some Catholics in the separation of their faith from decisions in the political order abandon God and embrace secular atheism.»

«Abandoning the truth,» he continued, «is directly opposed both to our ideals as Christians and to the founding principles of our country as seen in the Declaration of Independence which acknowledges the ‘laws of nature’s God’ and ‘the Creator.'»

The prelate quoted from the nation’s first president, George Washington: «Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.»

Based in these ideals of the founding fathers, as well as the teachings of the Church, Bishop Aquila called on Catholics to live out their faith: «Being faithful to the call and mission given to us by God can never be limited to Sunday worship, but requires the surrender of our complete and entire lives.

«If we are faithful Catholics, everything we do will be influenced by our relationship with God, his truth, his love and his constant inspiration. If we withhold the beauty and truths about human life from our nation’s laws, we diminish our society.»

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Full text of Bishop Aquila’s column:

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