Scottish Bishops Issue Election Statement

Topics Include Life, Family and Social Justice

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GLASGOW, Scotland, APRIL 27, 2005 ( Scotland’s Catholic bishops are urging the faithful to «make the cross count» and take a number of issues into consideration when they vote in the upcoming general election.

«Many important issues will be decided on May 5,» the bishops’ conference said in a statement released Tuesday. «As pastors, we highlight six, which we believe deserve special attention when it comes to deciding how to vote.»

The statement, which will be read at all parish Masses this Saturday and Sunday, touches on topics including pro-life issues.

«Human life is under new threats,» the statement says. «Abortion is legal up until birth; ‘assisted dying’ legislation threatens the elderly and sick, and the human embryo is subject to experimentation and destruction. We decisively reject this ‘culture of death.’ We regard each and every human life as sacred and urge candidates for election to support measures offering better protection for human life from conception until natural death.»

Under the heading «Freedom from Poverty,» the statement said: «At home and abroad, poverty dehumanizes lives. Therefore we favor new national initiatives to combat unemployment, material and cultural poverty and the demoralization of the human spirit through addiction, crime or deprivation.

«Overseas we ask politicians to accept a binding commitment to meet the 0.7% of national income as aid target by 2010. In the UK, international aid is currently only half this figure. In addition we renew our call to politicians to lift the burden of unpayable debt from developing countries and ‘make poverty history.'»

Regarding family life, the statement said: «Marriage is a unique relationship of love between man and woman and is the origin of family life. Laws which propose alternative relationships as equivalent to marriage damage society and should not be supported.»

In the area of social justice the bishops exhorted: «On asylum and immigration, policies are needed which respect the right of people to seek sanctuary/asylum in our country and improve their own economic conditions, while contributing to the common wealth of the nation. We support efforts to foster respect for racial, ethnic and religious differences.»

The prelates added: «We must promote peace. War must always be a last resort. We should recall the words of the late Pope John Paul II, ‘Wars generally do not resolve the problems for which they are fought and therefore, in addition to causing horrendous damage, they prove ultimately futile. War is a defeat for humanity.'»

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