Since I was first called to serve as a bishop more than 20 years ago, I have taught plainly and forcefully on the primacy of protecting the sanctity and the dignity of life at all stages, and on the need to care and nurture pregnant women so they will choose to have their babies.
I have also plainly and forcefully taught that it is the responsibility of all Catholics, whether in public life or not, to form our consciences according to authentic Catholic teaching and tradition, and not societal fashions and fads. Even more so, it is our responsibility to live our teaching and tradition every day, not just on Sundays.
Most recently, I joined with the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to endorse statements by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, CT, that point out that life begins at conception, and that from her very beginning the Church has taught the grave moral evil of abortion.
Today, I endorse the most recent statement of Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy -again speaking for the bishops' conference - that our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies.
All too often, our political leaders look for a quick fix or a "simple solution" to the tough moral problems our country and world face. Our national experience has shown that such actions do not fix, and never solve, underlying problems.
"Simple solutions" like the Freedom of Choice Act can never be considered, and it is our obligation as Catholics to oppose them.
(Editor's note: The full text of the statement of Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy can be found online at: www.usccb.org/prolife/Rigali-Murphy-Joint-Statement.pdf.)