Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two Scottish Bishops' excellent pre-election pastoral letters

H/T to the Sisters of the Gospel of Life for this one.

Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow points out the problem of finding a party that Catholics can support and asks the people of his diocese to vote for the candidate, not the party. He writes:
no mainstream party is ready to uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. None wants to stand up unambiguously for the marriage-based family as the essential building brick of society which cannot be put on a par with civil partnerships. None appears to consider the rights of conscience as paramount.

No manifesto distinguishes properly between inclusivity and uniformity. This key concept impacts on the right of parents to choose faith schools as well as the right to expect that a child, if adopted, is adopted in line with the principles of the Church to which they belong. No manifesto explicitly defends the rights of the terminally ill against those who would advocate euthanasia. None would seem to support full and proper funding for hospice care and palliative medicine.

We might look in vain for manifestos addressing other moral issues of concern to us …concern about the immorality of the use or threatened use of weapons of mass destruction, such as Trident; concern about the unfair treatment of refugees; concern about the assumed role sometimes exercised by the press in condemning people and institutions without a right of defence; concern that citizens should be able to depend upon honesty and integrity among politicians, bankers and media barons; concern that on issues of conscience, party members should be free to vote according to their religious beliefs, free from unjust pressure.

Our task is made all the harder because it is virtually impossible to distinguish one party from another in respect of many of these key moral issues. In these circumstances my advice is to set aside party political considerations and to recognise, where you can, the integrity of individual candidates and vote according to your belief that they can be trusted in those matters which our faith tells us are the most fundamental of all.

Bishop Tartaglia speaks of the civilisation of love:
* The civilization of love upholds the sacredness of life from conception to natural death: abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are against the common good of society and do not contribute to a civilization of love.
* The civilization of love upholds the fundamental human rights of every person, not least the right to life, to freedom of conscience and to freedom of religion.
* It acknowledges that marriage and the family are the foundation of the human project: the common good is not served by policies which make the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman just one possible form of the basic social unit. It recognizes the sanctity of human sexuality and that God has reserved to marriage the acts of love proper to husband and wife.
* The civilisation of love also promotes a moral and ethical conduct of the economy such that the creation of wealth serves the integral development of the person, of society and of the common good of peoples and nations. This calls for some kind of regulation of financial practices in order to discourage the greed and reckless speculation which contributed to the present recession and its damaging effects on peoples’ lives and wellbeing.
* The civilization of love upholds and defends the dignity and equality of every human person, while celebrating in a special way the rich and profound complementarity of man and woman.
* The civilization of love is one in which there is peace among nations. It strives for an end to war and conflict. It seeks to remove weapons of mass destructions from the face of the earth.
* It strives for the eradication of injustice, poverty and disease in all its forms throughout the world.
* It puts the good of human beings at the heart of its commitment to the integrity of the created world and to the protection of the environment.
* In a word, the civilization of love recognises that the God whom we encounter in the person of Jesus Christ is the source, good and goal of the entire human project.

Bishop Tartaglia condemns the heavy-handed use of equality legislation which has, in fact, inhibtied the freedom of Catholics and other Christians:
Let your candidates know that these rights have been under threat in modern-day Britain from a heavy-handed use of equality legislation which claims to sit in judgement upon Church doctrines which have guided Christian belief and practice for centuries. This same legislation tends to inhibit Christians and faith groups from freely expressing and acting upon their own religious and moral convictions.

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