Gaspé – As they gather in the City of Gaspé for the Plenary Assembly, the Catholic Bishops of Quebec invite all citizens to take in earnest their responsibility to exercise the right to vote in the provincial general election to be held on October 3. The significance of our electoral process takes on new clarity, given a worldwide context in which democracy is experiencing serious setbacks.
The free exercise of one’s democratic choice requires that each citizen:
- learn as much as possible about the candidates and their platforms in their respective riding;
- discern with one’s conscience and soul which option is closest to one’s own values and priorities.
Trends expressed in opinion polls are not a gauge on which to base one’s discernment and do not exempt us from the effort of weighing all the options in deciding what is important to us. In addition to doing our own investigation thoroughly, we must also try to understand opposing positions and examine them with reference to meaningful principles.
Like all citizens, Christians are called to make a personal effort to distinguish which directions will best serve the pursuit of the common good and the establishment of a just society. The great principles of the Gospel and the social teachings of the Church can shed light on the discernment of all people of good will, as well. With this in mind, let us recall the principles that may stimulate the reflection process for the entire electorate as we consider the political choices before us:
- the protection of human life and the dignity of every person, regardless of their age, origin or condition;
- the preferential option for the poorest among us and for those who are marginalized in our economic system;
- the protection of our environment, in order to safeguard the integrity of this "common home" that we share;
- the pursuit of the common good, so that we may live together in harmony and with respect for our differences.
Some very real issues claim our attention, such as the rising cost of living, access to affordable housing (especially for young families, the elderly and those living alone), fair and equitable access to public transportation, the strengthening of the social safety net and the need to respond to the climate crisis. Let us keep in our prayers the men and women who must grapple with these issues on a daily basis.
+ Christian Rodembourg
Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe
President of the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops
This message is the fruit of the work of the Council on Church and Society
The translation into English is provided by the Archdiocese of Montreal