Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Scottish Bishops on General Election 2010

''A general election has been called. The message the Bishops Conference of Scotland sends you is this: Make your faith count!

The political choices we face today are not the choices your parents and grandparents faced. They would never have voted for any candidate who refused to protect unborn human life, who supported experimentation on human embryos, or planned to assist unfortunate people to commit suicide. They would never have voted for a candidate who would undermine marriage and family in the way that has happened in recent years with cross-party support. They would never have voted for candidates who rejoiced in same sex unions. They would never have voted for candidates who would stop the Church offering adoption services. They would never have voted for candidates who were clearly hostile to the values they held dear. Your parents and grandparents voted for those they believed shared the same fundamental Christian values as they did. It is for us to do likewise to shape a society where the dignity of each individual and life itself is respected.

As Catholics we know the importance of protecting every human life and of the value that married family life gives to society. These values were once widely shared but times have changed. Many of those standing for election, of whatever party, do not share our basic principles and values. That is why we say to you: when you vote, make your faith count. Vote with your faith to protect human life; to support marriage and the family; to protect religious freedom; to protect Catholic education. Vote with your faith, and uphold the right of conscience and religious freedom.

In urging you to let your faith count at the ballot box, we ask you to think carefully before you cast your vote. Which candidate displays values closest to yours? Which candidate will best respect and protect your religious freedom and your freedom of conscience? Which candidate do you trust most to do a good job for you and your community?

As your bishops, it is not our intention to tell you which party to vote for. It is our duty to encourage you to engage with the political process and to vote for the candidate who best represents the values we, like our parents and grandparents before us, hold dear.''

I heard this on Sunday at Mass, and I was quite pleasantly surprised. Too often our bishops mess around with niceties, and subtle comments that would barely be noticed, burried beneath meaningless cliches. An added force is needed to shake the sleeping faithful. A lot is at stake on the 6th, and we Catholics should not just 'take into consideration' our faith, but make it the very foundation upon our choice.
I will not attempt to advocate one party in preference to another, as none of the main parties perfectly represent Christian values (although they regularly say they do).
With our bishops, I urge you to make your vote count, a vote for the family, a vote for marriage, a vote for life....a vote for Christ.

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