ST. LOUIS - Along with the usual campaign flyers filling mailboxes, Missouri Catholics are receiving letters directly from bishops telling them to vote against an embryonic stem cell research proposal at the polls next week.
The letters were not identical around the state, but urge many of Missouri's estimated 850,000 Roman Catholics to oppose the measure.
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke urged Catholics to vote no on Amendment 2 - which would protect all forms of embryonic stem cell research allowed by federal law - in a letter dated Oct. 27.
"Catholics must oppose this measure because of its grave assault on human life and the integrity of human procreation," Burke wrote.
Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese said Wednesday he wrote a letter to more than 50,000 Roman Catholics earlier this month, arguing the amendment would enshrine cloning in the state constitution, destroy human embryos and keep state officials from limiting the research.
Bishop Finn said it was appropriate to send out the letters.
"My first task is that no one would be able to say that church teachings aren't clear on it," he said. "I see it as a moral issue that we have to oppose this amendment issue."
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