Bishops ask not to waste vote
The bishops said Catholic should vote for those who understand the anxieties of the people. Posted on February 18, 2014, 8:46 AM
|Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio |
with Cardinal Oswald Gracias
The Catholic bishops in India have refused to identify the Church with any political party but urged their people not to discount the right to vote in the coming general elections.
The 187 bishops of India issued a guideline at the end of their biennial meeting Feb. 12 underlining the importance of the national elections due in this summer, when the mandate of the current parliament ends.
"The direction that our country takes, its progress and much of our everyday lives depend largely on the leaders we elect to our parliament," they said in the statement singed by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.
The Church does "not identify herself with any political party" but every citizen eligible to vote should exercise it prudently, carefully and judiciously. "We must be convinced that every vote does count," the statement said.
The bishops acknowledged the progress the country made in technology, science and communication but said there are several areas of concern.
The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, privatization of education, health and the social welfare were listed as concerns. "Ethics is losing primacy as the guiding principle for society. God is slowly being pushed to the periphery," the bishops lamented.
The bishops said Catholic should look forward to elect those who understand the anxieties of the people, and respond to their needs.
They said the Church needed leaders who are committed to safeguard secularism, rights of minorities and rights of tribal and dalit people.
They also asked people to elect leaders committed to work for an economy that seeks to help the poor, and those committed to protect environment.
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