"What are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? ... [T]here are those who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminating discrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience. These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate...the rights of believers to freedom of conscience ... [R]eligious bodies – including institutions linked to the Catholic Church – need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles and specific convictions based upon the faith and the official teaching of the Church."As I said to the media earlier this evening, legislatures in Britain and Europe recently have threatened the right not to be complict in abortion and euthanasia. For example, Ed Balls, the previous education secretary, earlier this year threatened to force both Catholic and non-Catholic schools to promote abortion. Tony Blair's government passed the Mental Capacity Act, which in certain circumstances forces doctors to deny life-preserving treatment and care to incapacitated patients. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is due to debate a report which, if implemented, would undermine massively conscientious objection to abortion across Europe.
I call upon all Catholics, other Christians and all those who value human dignity to heed Pope Benedict's words and join the pro-life movement in upholding the right to life via conscientious objection.
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