Letter on Personhood Amendment

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

You may be aware of a petition drive to collect signatures to place a "personhood" amendment to the Colorado constitution on the November 2012 ballot. Similar initiatives were on the ballot in 2008 and 2010.

This letter is intended to explain why the Catholic Bishops of Colorado - individually and as members of the Colorado Catholic Conference - are not participating in gathering signatures for this ballot initiative.

We want this to be perfectly clear: We bishops affirm that "from the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life" CCC 2270.

While we share the ultimate objective of this effort i.e., to legally recognize the rights of the unborn, we do not, however, think that this strategy will provide a realistic opportunity for reversing Roe v. Wade. Instead, we believe that our limited resources can be more effectively used in pursuing a fetal homicide law, an ultrasound and informed consent law, and other constructive legal measures.

Nevertheless, some individual Catholics may find this to be an opportunity for meaningful discussion and education. The decision to sign the petition is left to an individual's prudential judgment. We are not opposed to the collection of signatures in our parishes, granted you have the permission of your pastor.

The Catholic Church in Colorado has a long and active history of working, through state legislative efforts and other community initiatives, to protect life from conception to natural death. We will continue through every realistic means to work toward this end, and we seek to keep the Catholic community informed about and engaged in our efforts at the state level.

Thank you for everything you do to support the sanctity of human life.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bishop James D. Conley

The Diocese of Lincoln | Chancery Office: 3400 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6125 | 402-488-0921 | Email Clergy Resources | Bookkeepers

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