The Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales have issued a statement on the forthcoming General Election having returned from their November 2019 Plenary meeting in Leeds.
The statement concentrates on the key issues – not parties or manifestos – offering a series of points that can be put to candidates prior to voting.
The Bishops highlight the duty of all citizens – not just Catholics – to help shape politics that are “rooted in the service of human rights and peace”.
The innate human dignity of all – particularly the vulnerable and those on the margins – lies at the heart of the statement as the Bishops encourage everyone to “engage with the election and vote.”
In making judgments about how to vote, the Bishops ask that the following are carefully considered and, indeed candidates can be asked how they will uphold:
- The innate dignity of every human being; defending both the child in the womb, the good of the mother and an understanding of the immeasurable good of a child not yet born?
- The dignified care for those who are terminally ill and dying while resisting the false compassion of assisted suicide or euthanasia?
- The needs of those who are frequently neglected or discarded by society such as people with disabilities, Travellers, older people, those who are homeless, those in prison and those trapped in modern slavery?
- The process of integration of migrants and refugees who have made their homes here, challenging the global rise of xenophobia and racism that is so radically incompatible with our faith?
- The rights of those in our own communities and overseas who “can see no end to the tunnel of extreme poverty,” providing them with assistance and confronting the structural injustices that compound their suffering?
- Care for our common home and tackle the climate emergency which threatens the future of our entire human family and is already having a profound impact upon the world’s poorest people?
- Freedom of religion and belief, ensuring that everyone has the right to exercise their conscience and practise their creed freely without fear?
- The cherishing of marriage, recognising the essential place of the family in the service of life and of society?
The right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their faith and support the work of Catholic schools in their contribution to society and their promotion of the common good?