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Catholic bishops issue election guide

By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News


OTTAWA (CCN) — Canada’s Catholic bishops have issued an election guide for voters choosing a candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’s Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace’s three-page document reminds Canadians of their right to vote and their responsibility to do so to promote the common good.

The guide offers five principles from Catholic moral and social teaching it describes as a “magnifying glass by which to analyze and evaluate public policies and programs.”

The first principle is “Respect for Life and human dignity: from conception to natural death.” Included under this heading are the right to life of the embryo and the fetus; the right to life of the dying, “accompanying them until their natural death and promoting greater access to palliative care.”

The document urges Canadians to raise their voices against physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, “which deny the intrinsic value of human life, endanger the lives of vulnerable people, and threaten to morally compromise medical professions.”

The section includes opposition to capital punishment, care for the poor and vulnerable, and those with disabilities, the sick and the elderly.

The second principle, “Building a more just society,” includes “ensuring respect for the freedom of conscience and religion of all, in private, public and professional life”; justice and solidarity with indigenous communities; poverty reduction measures including affordable housing, fighting child poverty and homelessness; and safe drinking water.

The third principle, “The person and the family,” includes “promoting a better balance between familial and professional responsibilities”; pay equity between men and women; a guaranteed base income; quality hospital care; refugee family reunification; action against human trafficking; and rehabilitation of criminals using a restorative justice model. It also urges “protecting people from addiction to drugs and gambling.”

The fourth principle, “Canada in the world: providing leadership for justice and peace,” stresses the need to help the developing world in poverty reduction, addressing hunger, and providing health care. It includes promoting peace-making and dialogue among nations; weapons control; honouring human rights treaties; honouring the dignity of refugees and immigrants and protecting seasonal workers’ rights; and ensuring Canadian companies do not commit abuses when doing business abroad.

The fifth principle, “A health country in a healthy environment,” includes responsible stewardship of the environment; “honouring international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”; reducing fossil fuel dependency; controlling urban pollution; developing more environmentally friendly transportation; encouraging investment in renewable energy; and natural resource development without harming local quality of life.

The guide can be downloaded at the website.

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