General Election 2015 Resources
In preparation for the general election on May 7, the bishops of England and Wales have written to Catholics reminding them of the importance of involvement in the democratic process, above all by voting.
The bishops say that “voting in a general election should seldom, if ever, be based on a single issue. Elections involve a whole range of issues, some without doubt more central than others.”
The bishops highlight a number of these central issues about which Catholics should question political candidates, including respect for human life, and commitment to supporting families. They draw attention to the importance of making sure that the poorest children “have access to high quality education” and protecting parents’ right to choose faith-based education.
The bishops call for respect for the human rights of migrants and refugees, and commitment to overseas aid and development. “As members of one human family,” they write, “richer nations such as ours have a duty to help the development of poorer nations.” They highlight the importance of alleviating poverty, writing that all policies “should be assessed on the ways in which they impact those in most need.”
Read the full letter here.
The bishops have also produced a series of videos on key issues: Bishop John Arnold speaks about overseas aid and development; Bishop Patrick Lynch on immigration; Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool on schools; Bishop Terence Drainey on domestic poverty; Bishop John Sherrington on respect for human life, and Bishop Peter Doyle on supporting marriage and the family.
In response to the bishops’ letter, Catholic Voices asked two of our speakers active in the Conservative and Labour parties to interpret the letter in the light of their parties’ platforms for our blog. Peter Smith made the case for voting Conservative, while Mary Clarkson urged voting for Labour. Another CV speaker, Joe Ronan, explained why he is considering voting for “none of the above” on May 7 and how this decision can be squared with the bishops’ call for Catholics to vote and engage with the electoral process. We would be delighted to publish well-argued pieces urging Catholics to vote for other parties or which seek to apply the bishops’ letter in other ways. If you would like to respond or comment, please email us at email@example.com.
For Catholics aged 18 or over, active engagement in political life involves voting, but younger Catholics can also reflect on the democratic process in order to help them prepare for adult citizenship. Resources for schools and sixth form colleges to be used in the run up to the general election are available on the website of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales.
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