The Bishops of England and Wales have written a joint letter encouraging Catholics to play an active part in the coming General Election. While voting for any particular political party is a matter of conscience, the bishops encourage us to use our vote at this pivotal time. They begin with a quotation from Pope Francis’ letter Evengelii Gaudium: “An authentic faith … always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters.” These words of Pope Francis, the Bishops write, encourage us to approach this General Election with a positive determination to consider carefully all that is at stake. An important duty of every UK citizen with the right to vote is to take part in the General Election. Please make sure that you are registered. Please do vote.
The letter can be found at catholicnews.org.uk/election17 and I shall refer to it in my homily at the weekend.
Among a number of issues highlighted by the Bishops is the sanctity of human life, reminding us that in 2015, Parliament voted overwhelmingly to protect society’s most vulnerable people, by preventing the legalisation of assisted dying. Much of the success of the campaign that preceded this vote was led by the campaigning group, “Right to Life,” an organisation which this parish supports.
In this connection, Arnold Marsden writes: “Fifty years ago this year the abortion act was passed, and since then eight million unborn babies have been destroyed. The unborn child is unable to defend itself, and relies on us for its very life; and the parable of the good Samaritan warns against walking by on the other side. A week on Monday, the Bank Holiday of 29th May, we host our annual sponsored walk, to raise funds for “Right to Life” to help it fight the constant battle on behalf of these children. Archbishop Kelly our own Bishop John along with several priests will join us along with many other walkers from the northwest. If you are unable to walk and collect sponsorship, you may sponsor our own Fr John or Fr Kevin or any other walker. This is a once a year effort to support this cash-strapped campaigning group in its efforts to defend life from the womb to the grave.”
Finally, a reminder that the new Mass schedule begins on 10th June.