British Catholics urged to 'vote thoughtfully'

Cardinal Vincent Nichols addresses a rally at Trafalgar Square in April (Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales)

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has urged British Catholics to “step well away from hatred” and “vote thoughtfully” in today’s United Kingdom general election. Source: The Tablet.

As voters prepare to head for the polls, Cardinal Nichols tweeted:  "Vote thoughtfully, not out of rancour. Discuss with unfailing courtesy. Step well away from all hatred. At this moment of decision, seek the good, always.”

Despite the precedence of Brexit in mainstream coverage, within the Catholic Church in England, Wales and latterly Scotland, the run-up to election day was dominated by a debate around abortion. The Bishop of Shrewsbury this week echoed the bishops’ conference’s election guidance by saying that Catholics should consider life issues when they vote, but went further, warning that Catholic voters should specifically consider the proposed decriminalisation of abortion by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties as “a radical assault upon the sanctity of human life”.

Speaking to The Tablet this week the former Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Flello, who was deselected early in the campaign because his pro-life views “diverged” from the party’s, said that he had been discriminated against because of his faith.

“The Lib Dems seem increasingly desperate to justify their decision to deselect me because of my Catholic views,” he said, responding to a letter to The Tablet last week from the chair of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum that said Mr Flello was deselected because he tweeted his opposition to the creation of no-protest zones outside abortion clinics.

Mr Flello added: “I have never supported breaking the law or harassing anyone and I’m still waiting to be told exactly which tweets were deemed to be ‘very aggressive’. I wonder who they will push forward to justify the Lib Dem Party’s discrimination against Catholics next?”

The Scottish bishops’ conference also urged Catholics to consider life issues, while the bishops of Northern Ireland made Brexit their primary focus.

In a message this week, the Northern Ireland bishops spoke of the significant impact Brexit would have on the region’s political and social stability and said “competent voices” were needed “to annunciate our concerns and we encourage voters to choose candidates who value positive relationships within and beyond these islands”.


Cardinal urges ‘seek the good’ on polling day (The Tablet)


As general election nears, bishops across UK stress right to life (CNA)

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