Friday 10 October 2008
Cardinal O'Brien urges Glenrothes constituents to "Go out and vote!".
In a letter to be read in the three catholic parishes in the constituency of Glenrothes this weekend, Cardinal Keith O'Brien in whose archdiocese the constituency is situated will urge parishioners to "Go out and vote!", reminding them that "The right to vote is a very important one, which places an obligation on every citizen to participate in the democratic process."
The Cardinal also suggests that parish groups should "host or participate in hustings and campaign meetings (and) take every opportunity to acquaint yourself with the issues and the candidates before you." adding "Make sure that those who stand before you for election are well aware that an active community of Catholic citizens exists here in this constituency."
The full text of the Cardinal's letter is shown below.
Catholic Media Office
0141 221 1168
LETTER TO PARISHES IN GLENROTHES CONSTITUENCY
(TO BE READ/DISTRIBUTED ON SATURDAY 11/SUNDAY 12 OCTOBER 2008)
My Dear People in the Glenrothes Constituency
As you are no doubt well aware on Thursday 6 November 2008 you will have the opportunity in the constituency of Glenrothes to cast your vote in a parliamentary by-election. I am taking this opportunity to write to you, not in order to direct or influence your choice in that vote but rather to urge your active participation in the political process which it involves.
The right to vote is a very important one, which places an obligation on every citizen to participate in the democratic process. Too many of our fellow citizens around the world and in countries which I have been privileged to visit on your behalf are denied this right to vote. With that in mind my first request to you would simply be: "Go out and vote!"
Important decisions however must always be informed ones. Thus I urge you also in your parish groups and as a community of faith to host or participate in hustings and campaign meetings. Take every opportunity to acquaint yourself with the issues and the candidates before you. Make sure that those who stand before you for election are well aware that an active community of Catholic citizens exists here in this constituency.
Clearly this is an election to the Westminster Parliament, though much of our domestic political coverage these days revolves around proceedings in the Scottish Parliament. However, we must remember that many crucial decisions are still reserved to Westminster. There are obvious matters which should concern every Catholic and which I hope you will raise with your candidates for election:
¢ Failure of Governments to implement the Millennium Development Goals which were intended to alleviate world poverty especially the dire poverty of many countries in Africa;
¢ The continued commitment to the renewal of the £24b Trident nuclear weapons system;
¢ The depressing reality that over 40 years after its passing the Abortion Act has not been repealed or amended in such a way that it will save life rather than continue to destroy life;
¢ The threat of new amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, further reducing the value of human life with proposed amendments making access to abortion even easier, not only in our own country;
¢ The continued existence of the overtly sectarian 'Act of Settlement'.
And I know there are other matters which concern you here in Glenrothes, as indeed all of the peoples in Scotland and in so many parts of the world. There is that current climate of financial instability and uncertainty which affects all of us, particularly the most vulnerable in our society, including our elderly, along with young couples and their families, and those who are living at poverty level around us. While we think of the billions of pounds at risk in the financial markets, as Christians we must also remember those for whom £1 a day is wealth, either here in Scotland or in so many of the countries whose peoples we are trying to help.
Whatever your concerns are, I would ask you to think about them at this present time and to raise them with those who seek your vote “ one of whom will be your elected representative in the Parliament at Westminster.
My thoughts and my prayers are with you all.
Yours sincerely in Christ
+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh