Quito (Agenzia Fides) - In the presidential elections of 17 February, the Episcopal Conference of Ecuador has issued a document, divided into three parts, entitled "Elections, a space for democracy", of which a copy was sent to Fides Agency. In the first step point ("Autonomy of politics and responsibility of the Church") describes the task of the Pastors: "As Pastors of the Catholic Church, we recognize and respect the legitimate autonomy of politics. It is not our responsibility to express political preferences, but to assess the political programs and the ethical and religious implications." So the bishops deal with religious freedom: "Ecuador, secular state recognizes and protects 'the right to exercise, maintain, amend, profess in public or privately, religion or personal belief, and disseminate individually and collectively these beliefs with the limitations imposed by the respect for human rights. This allows us to live in a peaceful and respectful manner between believers and non-believers, avoiding fanaticism, both religious and anti-religious."
In the second point, on the mission of the laity, the Bishops write, "Lay Catholics, belonging or not to the various political parties and movements, have a moral obligation to discern whether what inspires thought and proposals of these is compatible with the faith and morals of the Christian life. For this reason, one should consider whether their proposals are consistent or not with the moral principles rooted in human nature itself and present in all the personal and social dimensions. The Christian, therefore, should not join, without contradiction, to ideological systems that opposeto the faith that they profess."
The Bishops’ message, therefore, proposes to focus on the community's respect for human rights (based on the dignity of the person) and democracy (it is the people who delegate power to the rulers). Thus, "the vote is an important tool for ensuring effective democracy. The citizen in order to exercise this right and duty, is called to encourage the political and legislative decisions that are not inconsistent with the fundamental values and ethical principles."
The third point, by way of conclusion, reiterates the view expressed also in the final message of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization: "Christians politicians who live the commandment of love, are called for a clear and transparent testimony in the exercise of their responsibilities" (num. 10). (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/01/2013)