Bishop enters pulpit politics
LISMORE Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett has urged the region’s Catholics to consider issues such as abortion and euthanasia when deciding how to vote on August 21.
In a letter read out during Sunday Mass at churches across the Lismore Diocese, Bishop Jarrett said Catholics should ask whether a candidate is someone they are happy ‘in conscience before God’ to vote for.
Bishop Jarrett’s letter did not refer directly to any political party, but urged Catholics to consider more than the policy statements made by the parties during the campaign.
“Aside from their policy statements, even more importantly we should be asking ourselves what sort of human and social values characterise our local candidates,” Bishop Jarrett writes.
“What sort of beliefs do they espouse? What sort of values do they hold, especially in regard to marriage and the family, in regard to the dignity and sanctity of human life? Is this candidate pro-life? Does he or she reflect the thinking and conduct of a person to whom I am happy, in conscience before God, to confide my vote?”
Bishop Jarrett singled out abortion as a key issue, saying ‘we cannot ignore the enormous moral and social consequence of condoning the deliberate destruction of unborn human life’.
Local candidates from The Nationals, Greens and Labor parties yesterday all said they recognised Bishop Jarrett’s right to express a view – although not all agreed with that view.
Greens Page candidate Jeff Johnson said he and his party strongly supported a woman’s right to choose whether to go through with a pregnancy, and he believed most Australians agreed with him.
The Nationals’ Kevin Hogan said Bishop Jarrett highlighting issues important to Catholics was no different to someone like a union leader or a Rural Fire Service captain pointing out what policies worked for their respective organisations.