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Catholics cannot ‘watch from the balcony’ in UK election, bishops warn

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Catholics should ask candidates whether they understand the 'immeasurable good of a child not yet born', bishops said

Catholics cannot simply “watch from the balcony” in Britain’s forthcoming General Election, bishops have warned.

The bishops of England and Wales said Catholics should ask candidates how they will promote the common good, particularly the human dignity of the “most disadvantaged in our society”. This includes “defending both the child in the womb, the good of the mother and an understanding of the immeasurable good of a child not yet born,” the bishops said.

Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have called for radical changes to the Britain’s law. The Lib Dem manifesto promises to “Decriminalise abortion across the UK while retaining the existing 24-week limit”, while Labour say they would “decriminalise abortions”, without mentioning the 24-week limit, potentially opening the way to abortion on demand. While they say they would introduce “regulations”, they have not clarified what these would be.

The bishops also asked Catholics to consider whether candidates oppose the “false compassion” of assisted suicide, and challenged politicians to combat the “global rise of xenophobia and racism”.

“Conscious of the common good of every person and our society as a whole, we ask everyone to engage with the election and vote,” the bishops said. “Honest political activity depends upon integrity. We urge all in public life to recognize that telling the truth, not making vindictive and abusive comments or unattainable promises, are essential.”

The election was called after months of deadlock in parliament over Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have been consistently ahead in the polls, although the gap has narrowed over the past week. This is the UK’s first winter election since 1923.