Catholics in Britain urged to engage with election issues
(Vatican Radio) Catholic Church leaders in Britain are urging people to reflect on the Gospel values at the heart of their vision of society, as they look ahead to the general election scheduled to take place on May 7th.
At a press conference held in London on Tuesday, the head of the bishops conference of England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said a letter has been sent to Catholics encouraging them to think deeply about the different election issues and to challenge political candidates who prefer simplistic, ideological slogans.
In the weeks leading up to the ballot, the Bishops’ Conference website will feature a series of short films and articles focused on specific areas such as family and life issues, poverty, education, immigration, religious freedom, overseas aid and climate change.
Philippa Hitchen spoke to Cardinal Nichols to find out more about the bishops’ initiative:
Cardinal Nichols said the bishops are appealing for a quality debate which springs from a vision of the human person and the way they flourish in society…..
Regarding the issues of immigration, he said “I would love to see a political leadership that doesn’t play to peoples’ fears” but instead raises expectations of how Britain, as a prosperous country, can welcome those in need…..
On the critical question of the economy, Cardinal Nichols said it’s important to see beyond a “pull up your socks and do it yourself” option on the one hand and an “endless pit of hand outs” on the other. He said we need to ask why there are levels of poverty in Britain today where people in employment are going to food banks because they can’t afford to support their families….
The Cardinal noted he has been encouraging discussions with the business community in Britain through an initiative called ‘Blueprint for Better Business’ but he said it’s difficult to get the politicians on board….
The Cardinal believes there’s no such thing as a purely ‘Catholic vote’ in Britain but he stressed people are looking for leaders with a vision of building a better world, at home and abroad.