We the Catholic People
WE THE CATHOLIC PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH -- bishops do not speak
for us or the millions who stand together in our shared belief that the use of contracep-
tion is a moral dedicison that should be made by individuals in accordance with their conscience.
As Catholics, our tradition of social justice informs everything we do and defines how we
relate to family members, neighbors, co-workers and our fellow Americans, It requires us to stand
with those who are the neediest -- the hungry, the homeless, the jobless -- and then help to fill
their needs. In these tough eco-
nomic times, when so many are unemployed or underemployed, it is
more important than ever to work to-
gether to ensure that the basic needs of those who have the
least are met.
Social justice is at the core of our Catholic faith. We are compelled by our religious
tradition to work toward justice and equity for all and to create a society in which women and men,
young and old, poor and rich are treated with the same dignity and respect and granted the same
opportunity. It is because of this be-
lief that we are called to stand up on behalf of the least
among us to ensure that any public policy does not disregard or harm this vulnerable population --
one that disproportionately includes women.
Our views on many important issue often diverge with the views of the Catholic hierarchy in the
United States. The bishops are entitled to their viewpoint, just as we are to ours. Unfortunately,
the bishops attempt to portray their views as representative of ours in public discourse. The bishops'
insistence on eli-
minating access to contraception does not reflect our view or the views of many of
the 68 million Catholics in the United States. We have spoken with a near-unanimous voice: we believe
that the use of contraception is a moral decision that should be made by individuals in accordance
with their conscience.
We believe that eliminating access to contraception on the basis of who your employer happens to
be or where you go to school is discriminatory and wrong. Should the bishops prevail in their
campaign against contraception, the result will be a policy of discrimination and second-class health-
care for women, dependent on the whim of their employers. If we are compelled to build a society in which all
are treated fairly and justly, creating policies that discriminate on the basis of gender can play
We trust women and men to make the decisions that are best for them and their families. As part of
our Catholic faith, we are called to inform and ultimately to listen to our consciences above all else on
portant matters. To deny another person's conscience-based decision is to infringe upon that
individual's religious freedom.
We stand together to state loudly and clearly to all that Catholic people diverge from the bishops on many
issues. They do not speak for us each and every time they lobby elected officials or attempt to influence
lic policy. Our voices as Catholic people are an important component of policy debates and discus-
sion and should be afforded the same respect.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT CATHOLICS THINK ABOUT CONTRACEPTION, ASK US -- NOT THE BISHOPS.
This Open Letter is endorsed by:
DignityUSA, Call To Action USA, News Ways Ministry, and others, including Catholics
Catholics For Choice, 1436 "U" Street, NW, Ste 301, Washington, D.C. 20009
If you wish to add your name as a supporter of this Open Letter, please send your statement of
support by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Catholics For Choice at the
street address that is shown just above.
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