The Bishop of Huelva gets into politics
He bishop de Huelva has sent a letter to the media in which he exhibits Christian values so that the faithful take them into account for the upcoming municipal elections on May 28.
«On May 28th, Andalusians are called to elect those responsible for municipal management for the next four years. For this reason, I want to address the Catholics of Huelva and those who want to listen to me”, he pointed out.
«According to the Bishop of Huelva, I do not intend to say for or against whom to vote. That political decision falls on each citizen. My objective is to recall some principles on the social and political life of the Social Doctrine of the Church, to help, particularly the diocesans, to make their decision in the light of a duly formed conscience.
According to him bishop, «the construction of a more just social order is a fundamental task of politics. However, the Church, above all, or through the Catholic laity, cannot and should not be left out of this task. We wish to contribute, arguing from reason enlightened by faith, to discover what is fair, here and now, so that it can be recognized and then put into practice.”
Thus, “the Church does not want to impose her own perspectives and ways of behavior on those who do not share her faith. However, neither can anyone demand that we relegate religion to the private sphere, without influencing social life, without worrying about the health of civil society institutions and without giving an opinion on events that affect citizens. An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to leave the world a little better after our time on earth.
The Church, continues the Bishop, expresses its “esteem for democracy” as a system that ensures the participation of citizens in political choices and guarantees the possibility of electing and controlling their own rulers, or replacing them in a timely manner in a peaceful manner.
“We all have the right and at the same time the duty to vote freely to promote the common good. On the day of the next municipal elections we will also celebrate the Rocío pilgrimage, which brings together thousands of people from our province in the Village. This coincidence and others that may occur will require many residents to anticipate in time how to exercise the right and duty to vote in their respective municipalities.
«There are a few permanent principles of the Social Doctrine of the Church, whose consideration can help for personal discernment in order to decide the vote in the next electoral call. It is about the dignity of the human person, the common good, subsidiarity and solidarity”.
«The dignity of the human person is the foundation of all political action at any level, and must be the first criterion for our political choice. Each person is a unique and unrepeatable being, created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27). We must consider our neighbor as another self, taking care first of all of his life, but also of the necessary means so that he can live it with dignity ».
“In our towns and cities, it is urgent to get closer to everyone and serve them effectively when the need arises, whether it is the elderly alone, young people or unemployed adults, foreign workers, immigrants, the poor or the marginalized.”
“The municipal administration is also required, within its powers, the determined effort to combat anything that threatens life (abortion or euthanasia), or violates and offends the dignity of the human person, such as subhuman living conditions that can suffer. Also, those who feel or act differently from ours in social, political and even religious matters, must be the object of our respect and love.
«The common good is another element of discernment that should guide our participation in public life. Along with the individual good, there is a good related to the social life of people: the common good.
“It is the good of all of us, individuals, families and intermediate groups present in society. Working for the common good is caring for and using the set of institutions that legally, civilly, politically and culturally structure social life, which configures the town or city. In the society of globalization, the effort for the common good must necessarily cover communities larger than that of the municipality itself.
The Bishop recalled that “city councils are the administrations closest to the citizen and to which the law entrusts the provision of the most basic services: attention to situations of need, urban infrastructure and its environmental management, promotion of culture and sport, among others (Law of Bases of the Local Regime). We must analyze the political options that best promote the social conditions that allow and favor the integral development of the person and that, in turn, respect the legitimate aspirations of other groups”.
In a pluralistic society, the government must be for everyone and this entails harmonizing with justice the various sectoral interests, not only according to the interests of the majority, but seeking the effective good of all members of civil society, including minorities.
The principle of subsidiarity is especially relevant at the municipal level. Respecting the logic of subsidiarity implies that a higher order social structure should not interfere in the internal life of a lower order social group.
Subsidiarity imposes a double obligation: that of taking care of the most basic structures without interfering or manipulating them; and that of supplying and sustaining, in case of need, adequate care for the weakest in society for the common good.
Municipal rulers, in this case, must avoid hindering family, social, cultural or religious associations, depriving them or meddling in their legitimate initiatives; on the contrary, they must promote them freely and in an orderly manner. Citizens, for their part, individually or collectively, should avoid attributing excessive power to the municipal political authority and not selfishly ask for advantages or favors, at the risk of diminishing the responsibility of individuals, families, and social groups. .
Finally, in our political options we must take into account the principle of solidarity. The integral development of man cannot occur without the joint development of all. Saint Paul VI said: “Man must meet man, nations must meet each other as brothers and sisters, as children of God. In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must also begin to act as one to build the common future of humanity. This is the commitment that we must demand and demand of ourselves.
This duty involves caring for people, but also for their environment. The earth precedes us, it has been given to us and we must take care of it. This care means to protect, guard, preserve, keep, watch over. It is a relationship of responsible reciprocity between human beings and nature. This duty also entails specific requirements for municipal politics.
The bishop points to the purposes of the candidates
In the same way, the Bishop of Huelva points out that Catholics must value the purpose of those candidates who, understanding their task as a service to the citizen, offer to work for our city and towns. Politics, sometimes so denigrated, is one of the most valuable ways of expressing Christian commitment. Charity is not only the authentic principle for friendship, family and small group relationships, but should also govern social, economic and political relationships.
According to the bishop, in the city and the towns, the candidates running for municipal elections and the citizens know each other directly and personally. I urge you to value the credibility of the political options offered in these elections and the spirit of service of those who represent them; his defense of the dignity of the person in all stages of life; his effort to respect and promote a participatory civil society; the search for the common good of society as a whole and policies in favor of the well-being of the population, especially the most disadvantaged and the environment.
«I encourage electoral participation as a means to build a more just and fraternal society and I raise my prayer to the Lord and to the Blessed Virgin so that the elected rulers contribute to a society in which truth, freedom, justice and peace reign. » has concluded the bishop.