Canberra (Agenzia Fides) - Voting is an obligation which over-rides self interest, party affiliation, or the personal attraction of any individual politician and voters should give authority to work for the common good, not only for the good of the individual. An election is not about personal well being it is about to whole country. This was affirmed by Bishop Kevin Manning of the diocese of Parramatta, in a Pastoral Message issued in view of general elections in Australia tomorrow 24 November to elect members of parliament and a prime minister. In the message the Bishop offers guidelines to show Catholics "how the faith, and human reason, should shape thoughts and actions in daily life".
The Bishop recalls that every citizen has “ right and duty to promote the common good by using his vote and that in a democratic society, - "voters choose representatives to whom they give authority to work for the common good, not only for the good of the individual.
The election is not about "me" and "my" economic or social wellbeing alone. It is about the whole country, the individuals in it”.
The Bishop underlines that voters must "keep in mind that choosing one politician before another can significantly affect many lives, especially the lives of the most vulnerable people in society, such as the unborn, and those who are terminally ill”.
The Bishop reminds voters of certain principles, first of all. Respect for human dignity is the basis for the fundamental right to life. It is also the basis for the right to those things needed to live with dignity, e.g., productive work and fair wages, food and shelter, education and healthcare, protection from harm, and the right to move from one country to another in search of the necessities of life". Another guiding principle is the defence and promotion of marriage as the unbreakable bond between one man and one woman.
The Bishop says everyone's vote "must be guided by a well-formed conscience, a law written by God on our hearts, that disposes us to love, to do good, and avoid evil. This obligation over-rides self interest, party affiliation, or the personal attraction of any individual politician".
He concludes by recalling that the Church assists Catholics in the formation of conscience, enabling them to consider the issues in the light of fundamental moral principles. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/11/2007 righe 27 parole 279 )