Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan reminded Americans on Monday about the late Pope Benedict’s call to bear witness to the truth about “the dignity of all persons,” including babies in the womb.

According to Our Sunday Visitor News, the New York cardinal brought up abortion and other violations of human dignity in a statement marking Religious Freedom Day on Jan. 16 in the United States.

Remembering Pope Benedict XVI, who died Dec. 31, Dolan said, “He sought to show how the church’s mission in political life is to bear witness to the truth, particularly the truth about human nature and the dignity of all persons.

“As he put it, ‘Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the church can never renounce,’” continued Dolan, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty.

Faith and reason both point people to the truth about the value of babies in the womb and the violation of their human rights by abortion, he continued. He also urged Americans not to use religious freedom as an “escape route” to ignore attacks on the truth.

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“Religious freedom is not an escape route, as if we could watch the common good be harmed so long as we obtain religious exemptions,” Dolan said. “Indeed, if we abandon the priority of truth, natural law, human nature and the common good, then we abandon freedom itself.”

The cardinal reminded Catholics to “patiently and courageously bear witness to the truth in our public life” and be persistent in doing so. “In this way, we will promote true freedom and bless our great country,” he said.

The Catholic Church teaches that every human being is valuable, from conception to natural death, and fights against abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other life-destroying actions across the world. The church also seeks to uphold the dignity of every human life through charity work, providing medical care, financial aid, pregnancy and parenting resources, and much more to help people in need.

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