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BY Jim Cosgrove
Following is an excerpt from the Oct. 20 document “Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium,” by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Politics is about more than our own pocketbooks or economic interests. Catholics, other believers, and men and women of good will raise different questions for ourselves and for those who would lead us:
1. How will we protect the weakest in our midst — innocent, unborn children?
2. How will we overcome the scandal of a quarter of our preschoolers living in poverty in the richest nation on earth?
3. How will we address the tragedy of 35,000 children dying every day of the consequences of hunger, debt and lack of development around the world?
4. How can our nation help parents raise their children with respect for life, sound moral values, a sense of hope and an ethic of stewardship and responsibility?
5. How can society better support families in their moral roles and responsibilities, offering them real choices and financial resources to obtain quality education and decent housing?
6. How will we address the growing number of families and individuals without affordable and accessible health care? How can health care protect and enhance human life and dignity?
7. How will our society best combat continuing prejudice, bias, and discrimination, overcome hostility toward immigrants and refugees, and heal the wounds of racism, religious bigotry, and other forms of discrimination?
8. How will our nation pursue the values of justice and peace in a world where injustice is common, destitution is widespread, and peace is too often overwhelmed by warfare and violence?
9. What are the responsibilities and limitations of families, voluntary organizations, markets, and government? How can these elements of society work together to overcome poverty, pursue the common good, care for creation, and overcome injustice?
10. How will our nation resist what Pope John Paul II calls a growing “culture of death”? Why does it seem that our nation is turning to violence to solve some of its most difficult problems — to abortion to deal with difficult pregnancies, to the death penalty to combat crime, to euthanasia and assisted suicide to deal with the burdens of age and illness?