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01 / 06 / 2009 - Euro Elections - MEPs should support right to life issue - IRISH BISHOPS
See also: 22 / 05 / 2009 - Precious Life launch VOTE FOR LIFE Campaign
MEPS SHOULD hold “strong convictions on upholding the right to life” and should recognise the contribution of Christianity to the values of the European Union, according to the Irish Bishops’ Conference.
The sentiments were expressed in a statement issued by the standing committee of the Irish Bishops’ Conference to encourage people to vote in this week's European Parliament elections.
MEPs should give “full recognition to the contribution of Christianity to the construction and values of the European Union and to the importance of religious faith in the lives of its citizens,” the statement said.
“ should hold strong convictions on promoting respect for human dignity, upholding the right to life and the rights of the family,” it added.
They should also promote respect for freedom of religion and freedom of religious expression as “a fundamental right and a defining value” of the EU, according to the bishops’ statement.
“[MEPS] should be committed to shaping a political order that provides justice to everyone, especially the poorest,” the statement continued.
“It is on these political, personal and moral criteria that candidates should be selected to serve the common good, one of the essential and indispensable goals of political authority.”
The bishops also urged Irish people to exercise their civic duty by voting in the European elections.
“Going to the polling station and voting is a key action in shaping tomorrow’s Europe,” the statement said.
“We all share responsibility for Europe, for the quality of life of its citizens, for its future policies and its role in the world. Every vote counts.
“To ignore this is a failure to serve ourselves, our neighbour and our children. To vote is a concrete way of fulfilling the Gospel challenge to serve our neighbour,” it added.
The bishops said that it was important for voters to keep in mind the range of critical issues that MEPs would be able to influence, noting that one of the first tasks of the newly elected parliament would be to debate and amend a proposal for the tighter regulation of financial markets.
Discussing other issues on the parliament’s agenda, including European legislation relating to migration, the protection of the environment and research policy, the bishops urged MEPs to “act out of respect for the dignity of every person and for God’s creation”.
Referring to the European Union’s role on the international stage, particularly in the areas of trade, development and climate change, the bishops said that this week’s election would impact on the lives of millions around the world, especially the poorest.
Source: MARY FITZGERALD, Foreign Affairs Correspondent - IRISH TIMES