Acton Institute Powerblog

Beyond the Party: Catholics and Government’s Moral Purpose

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In the Acton Commentary this week, Dr. Samuel Gregg examines the “Historic Catholic Statement of Principles” released by House Democrats last week. Following is a brief statement of purpose from the official press release:

…Signed by 55 House Democrats, the statement documents how their faith influences them as lawmakers, making clear their commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching and their bearing on policy – whether it is increasing access to education for all or pressing for real health care reform, taking seriously the decision to go to war, or reducing poverty. Above all, the document expresses the signers’ commitment to the dignity of life and their belief that government has moral purpose.

Dr. Gregg looks at the statement and questions the legitimacy of claiming to promote the dignity of life while condoning abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. John Paul II wrote, “[i]t is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop” (Evangelium Vitae no.101). How can you commit to furthering the dignity of life, embracing the social guidance of the Church, and then blatantly disregard this fundamental truth?

Read Dr. Gregg’s commentary here.

Jonathan Spalink


  • Richard Keith Munro

    GREGG writes, that " some American Catholic politicians and their unnamed theological advisors to rationalize the untenable: their claim to be faithful Catholics while supporting practices that intentionally violate what the Church teaches is inviolable: innocent human life."

    Mr Dooley of course reminded us never to trust a politician who read his Missal on the public tram.

    Property is a very important natural right. So is liberty. But as John Paull II and Dr. Gregg so wisely point out, LIFE IS THE HIGHEST RIGHT AND THE HIGHEST VALUE.

    The purpose of government -and the purpose of families- should be to protect rights and protect, rear and educate innocent life for on them rests the survival and success of the Republic.

    Yes, perhaps we have to peacefully coexist with pro-choice Americans but this does not mean we should give the Sangerites of this world our tacit consent of their moral relativsm by our silence.

    Thank you Dr. Samuel Gregg for your brave and well-considered words.