February 28, 2023
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace be with you! As Catholics, we are committed to protecting the sanctity of human life no matter the circumstances or stage of development. We live this out by, among other things, accompanying the poor and needy, refugees and immigrants, prisoners on death row, young mothers, and children.
In Ohio, the dignity of life in its earliest stages is threatened by groups proposing an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution for the November 2023 ballot that would enshrine and expand abortion at the expense of protections for preborn children and women. The Church must not be silent and cannot remain on the sidelines when confronted with such a clear threat to human life. This proposal demands a response, and we strongly encourage Catholics and all people of good will in Ohio to work against including the proposed amendment for the November ballot and, if it appears on the ballot, vote against the amendment to prevent countless deaths of preborn, innocent children.
Our Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us that “Our defense of the innocent unborn … needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development” (Gaudete et Exsultate, no. 101). Our commitment to protecting and promoting life includes providing resources and accompanying women during and after pregnancy through our numerous social service agencies, schools, and parishes. This commitment also includes rejecting abortion expansion, which only perpetuates a throwaway culture that does not value human life.
The Catholic Conference of Ohio will be collaborating with statewide organizations, and diocesan respect life offices will be seeking volunteers to help coordinate a campaign at every parish. More information and materials will become available as we mobilize to oppose the proposed amendment on the November 2023 ballot.
We, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio, stand with you, our faithful, in our commitment in the name of the Lord of Life, to each human person from conception to natural death. Let us unite in fasting and offering this prayer:
God our loving Father, grant wisdom to those who govern us, compassion and courage to those who work to defend human life, and safety and care to every human being. For you alone who formed us in our mothers’ wombs, and who call us home to heaven, are God, for ever and ever. Amen.
With you in Christ Jesus,
Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic Diocese of Cleveland
Most Rev. Michael G. Woost Diocese of Cleveland
Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas Diocese of Toledo
Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton Diocese of Steubenville
Most Rev. Earl K. Fernandes Diocese of Columbus
Most Rev. David J. Bonnar Diocese of Youngstown
Most Rev. J. Michael Botean Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton
Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma
PDF of Letter available here: Ohio Bishops’ Letter on Ballot Amendment