Quito (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Ecuador are addressing, with a document entitled "Political responsibility", to all men and women of good will, regardless of their political and religious options, to invite them to elect the best representatives as President, Vice-President, members of the Assembly and parliamentarians in the context of the next elections on 7 February. "It is a moral and civil obligation to seek, consciously and reasonably, those who are able to better face, with realism and hope, the health, economic and ethical crises which today characterize the personal, family, work and social reality of Ecuadorians - they write in the document -. To this end, we share with you some principles on the value of politics, the importance of political parties and movements and, in particular, on the responsibility of political actors and citizens towards the fate of our country".
In dealing with the "value of politics", the Bishops write that the Christian faith "cannot be lived only in the private space and by the individual but that it needs service, donation, commitment and transformation of society. Politics, as a search for the common good, is therefore, 'a demanding way of living Christian commitment at the service of others' (Saint Paul VI). Quoting the Magisterium of the last Popes on the subject, they recall that the participation of all Ecuadorians in a democratic state "is a civil obligation that binds us to give an opinion and to decide".
The second theme concerns the importance of political parties, which in a democracy "constitute the intermediaries between the legitimate aspirations of all social actors and the State, and also those responsible for informing and educating citizens in matters to understand the national reality". This responsibility "obliges them to have an ideological program and a clear organization that identifies them", the Bishops write, warning of a danger: "When political parties and movements focus their activities exclusively on participation in elections, ignoring the just aspirations of the most vulnerable citizens, they fall into a populism that offers choices based on deception, thus contributing to discredit and rejection of action and political commitment on the part of people".
Politicians, both as candidates and as leaders of parties and movements, "have an ethical responsibility to offer solutions that respond to the needs of the population, free from any form of demagogy that threatens truth and justice". The Bishops therefore call on the candidates "to speak clearly and without reservations about the concrete actions and measures to be implemented to fulfill their election campaign promises, seeking the good of all, especially the marginalized, children, young people, women, migrants and the elderly, without revenge or sectarianism". Those who are elected will have to govern "for the whole of Ecuador, in dialogue, respect and collaboration with all sectors of society".
In the last part of the text, the Bishops draw the attention of citizens to their civil responsibility: "we have the right and the duty to choose the representatives and administrators of our future. With our vote, we write history and generate progress or regression, employment or unemployment, security or insecurity, honesty or corruption, justice or impunity".
Our vote, according to values, dreams, personal faith, should always be expressed with respect for those who think differently, and must not be considered an enemy. In particular, the Bishops encourage young people "to conscientiously and responsibly exercise their right and duty to vote for candidates who take into account the needs of our people above their own interests or conveniences". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 9/1/2021)