Referendum Proposed for Next Year
LISBON, Portugal, OCT. 24, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Lisbon's patriarch denies that he asked Catholics to abstain from voting in a proposed referendum on abortion, and says that in fact he is urging them to vote "no."
The confusion was sparked in reports following the Portuguese Parliament's approval, Oct. 19, of a proposal to ask voters whether to make abortion on demand legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
"My replies to questions on the theory of a new referendum on abortion were incorrectly used by some of the media, and also by political forces and seem to have created confusion and even indignation in some people," Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo said in a communiqué on Oct. 19.
Following the parliamentary decision, the Portuguese Episcopal Conference published an official note, inviting Catholics explicitly to vote "no" on the referendum's question and, in addition, to be actively involved in the social debate.
The patriarch of Lisbon hopes for the participation of all the members of the Church and all those who want to "defend life."
"It is clear that respect for life is an exigency of Christian morality" to oppose abortion," added Cardinal Policarpo.
The cardinal continued: "As it is a precept of Christian morality, it is a grave sin to violate it."
The president of Portugal must approve the proposed referendum, which could take place early next year.