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Croatian Catholic Bishops Rule out Voting for Anti-life or Anti-family Parties or Politicians

11/12/2003 - 9:00 AM PST

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ZAGREB, November 12, 2003 - The Croatian Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a letter on elections to all people of good will which stated that prior to any political considerations, political candidates or parties which are anti-life and anti-family are disqualified from a Christian standpoint. "As Catholic bishops, we must also remind you that a believer does not vote for a party and individuals who act on the behalf of the legalization of abortion, euthanasia and unnatural same-sex marriages," said the letter.

Beyond those 'criteria' the bishops stressed the need for a 'war on drugs' and proposed five 'priorities' to support in the current election, the first two of which are: a) the spiritual and moral renewal of our society and nation, elimination of the consequences of the totalitarian system and the war imposed upon us, concern for the poor and helpless; b) the war against demographic extinction, providing greater and more systematic assistance to married couples and families, promoting the complete upbringing and education of children and young people.

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Message from the Croatian Bishops on the Elections Hvar, October 29, 2003

Dear Faithful and All People of Good Will,

1. We are writing to you on the occasion of the forthcoming parliamentary elections to be held in our homeland on November 23, 2003. A specific quality of these elections, among others, is that they are being held only a few months following the third pastoral visit by the Holy Father to our Church and homeland. For all of us, this visit is still a vivid memory. The Pope summoned to mind many values upon which it is necessary to build our common future. Participating in large numbers at all the encounters with the Holy Father, many of the faithful and citizens exhibited a high degree of sensitivity to these values as well as all that he represents and embodies in his person. At the same time, despite numerous difficulties and problems that we are encountering, he urged and encouraged us to be a nation of hope. During these elections, we should affirm our civil responsibility and seriousness.

2. Summons to the Elections. Participation in political life and contribution to the general good are the fundamental rights and duties of every citizen. One of the basic means of exercising these rights and duties is participating in elections, which is a requirement of the love of the homeland that realistically and courageously confronts the challenge of the historical moment. Whoever does not fulfill this duty, irresponsibly allows others to make decisions without him on questions that concern him and the future of his children. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we urge you to participate in the elections with great moral and social awareness and responsibility. Thus, you will make your effective contribution to the continued development of our Croatian homeland.

3. Whom to Choose. Three thousand years ago, Moses' father-in-law counseled: "You should look among all the people for able, God-fearing and trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them as officers over the people" (Ex 18, 21). This ancient wise advice expresses the aspiration deeply rooted in human nature to entrust the care of the general good to the best people. These are certainly such people who in the exercise of public authority, among other things, follow the rules of the old Dubrovnik citizens, as quoted by the Holy Father: "Forget private advantage and work for the common good." Indeed, we know that in the circumstances and instabilities of this life we never can achieve the best to which we constantly aspire without effort. Experience confirms for us that this also applies to the political arena. Nonetheless, no one can justify failure to vote in the elections and a lack of ! interest in public life. Elections are a tested way of improving the quality of political life and advancing the common good. Therefore, it is necessary to vote!

4. Criteria for the Evaluation of Individuals and Parties. We are of the opinion, brothers and sisters, that it is our pastoral duty to make you aware of some fundamental principles that ensue from the social doctrine of the Church and are based upon the Gospel. It is necessary to bear them in mind when voting for individuals and parties with their programs. This is a matter of social justice, solidarity and love in the service of protecting and promoting the dignity of the human being, his basic rights and values. This means that the programs of individuals and parties should be assessed according to whether they promote justice for all, especially the most vulnerable, and whether they build a community of citizens in solidarity who will understand the values of tolerance, community, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Under our current circumstances, criteria are important for the assessment ...

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