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English bishops issue pre-election statement

March 04, 2010

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has issued “Choosing the Common Good,” a brief statement that presents “some of the key themes of Catholic Social Teaching in the light of some of its recent developments and of the changed conditions in contemporary Britain. Two events are anticipated in the publication of ‘Choosing the Common Good.’ The first is the forthcoming General Election and the second is the anticipated visit of Pope Benedict XVI in the autumn.”

The March 3 statement-- an update of a 1996 document-- offers three core principles: “the common good, the idea of integral human development, and the pursuit of virtue.” The document then briefly examines seven issues.

“The principle of the common good requires that the essential dignity of every human life is upheld because our life is not our property to dispose of but a gift to treasure,” the bishops note. “When this principle is abandoned, then a zero has been introduced into the calculation of the common good. The abortion of the unborn, and euthanasia even when voluntary, are a fundamental denial of this principle, because both are concerned with exclusion from the human community, both are contrary to the common good. Both issues make clear that defense of the immeasurable value of human life is part of a ‘seamless robe ‘, which requires all such threats to be taken seriously and opposed.”

The bishops announced that they will issue an additional statement once the anticipated general election is announced.


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