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Archbishop Hickey on Catholics in politics

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 Contents - Apr 2003AD2000 April 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Good news on the liturgy - Peter Westmore
Dr Claudio Betti's inspiring visit to Australia - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Documents: Church must be outspoken on moral issues: Australian Senator - Senator John Hogg
Documents: Archbishop Hickey on Catholics in politics - Archbishop Barry Hickey
Archbishop Hickey's pastoral letter on marriage - Archbishop Barry Hickey
Ecumenism: Christian unity: major obstacles still remain - David Schutz
Film Review: Why 'Gangs of New York' misses the boat as history - William J. Stern
Education: Chavagnes International Catholic college update - Br John Moylan
Our Lady of Peace: one American parish's successful formula - Arthur J. Brew
Letters: Authentic teaching (letter) - Aaron Wright
Letters: Vatican II (letter) - Denis O'Leary
Letters: Shooting the messenger - Alan Gill
Letters: Experiential catechesis (letter) - Fr. G.H. Duggan SM
Priestly Fraternity of St Peter - Holy Week 2003
Letters: Infallible? (letter) - Fr John Crothers PP
Letters: Life Walk (letter) - Brian Harris
Letters: Priorities (letter) - Jeanette Joseph
Letters: Stem cell research (letter) - W. Kline
Letters: Catholic hospitals? (letter) - Tom King
Letters: TV report (letter) - Kevin J. Kerr
Letters: Novena (letter) - Robert Anderson
Books: Newman, by Avery Dulles SJ - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: The First Grace, by Russell Hittinger - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Marian Apparitions, The Bible, And The Modern World - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: A Seat At The Supper, by Frank Colyer - Mark Posa (reviewer)
Books: A Long Way From Rome, edited by Chris McGillion - John Barich (reviewer)
Books: Our books are the cheapest!
Reflection: The road to Emmaus: coming to terms with the hard reality of loss - Fr Dennis Byrnes PP

Voting according to one's conscience is not imposing one's views on others. It is acting with integrity. No-one can be at peace who violates his own conscience. Politicians are no exception. I would expect every politician of whatever persuasion to vote according to his or her conscience on moral matters, and I believe that electors would expect nothing less from their candidates.

It has been a convention, in sensitive moral matters, that members of a political party have a conscience vote. Unfortunately that has not always been followed, causing extreme discomfort among party members and anguish for conscience.

In such a situation the matter of conscience becomes of crucial importance. No matter what the consequences there is no option but to follow one's conscience.

St Thomas More tried desperately to see if there were ways in which he could remain loyal to the king, even by saying nothing. Eventually he had to oppose the king on a matter of conscience and paid the ultimate price. His stand has made him revered around the world as a martyr.

The Vatican document asks for a conscience that is not only well-informed but formed by the teachings of the Church.

The pity of it is that, in many cases, one's faith has too little influence on one's decisions. The great privilege members of parliament have in framing and passing laws and implementing policies for a better society in which the rights and aspirations of all the community are protected and the common good is served should never be compromised by party pressure or popular sentiment if the issue is one of conscience.

The nobility of the call of politician demands the protection of life and promotion for policies that respect human dignity.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 3 (April 2003), p. 6

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