European Elections a Chance to Clarify Values, Say Bishops

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, MAY 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The forthcoming elections to the European Parliament will offer an opportunity to specify "our values," say the continent's bishops.



The bishops expressed this in a statement published Monday by the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), given the democratic consultation that will take place from June 10-13.

The statement reminds voters of their "moral duty" to take part in the elections.

The bishop warn against dismissing the European Parliament as a "talking shop," saying that those who do so are "missing out on a significant part of the European democratic decision-making process."

The bishops identify a series of issues that the new Parliament will be able to decide upon or influence. They draw guidelines from the Gospel and the Church's social teaching to help Catholics assess candidates' positions on these issues.

The issues include respect for life and the environment, solidarity and the common good, support for education and the family, the treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers, justice for the world's poor, and the promotion of peace and international law.

They reiterated their proposal to include a reference to the continent's Christian heritage in the preamble of the EU Constitution.