Pastoral message from Bishop Larry Duffy on the elections & referendum on 24 may 2019

23 May 2019

“There’s more to elections than just voting for the most popular candidate; elections give us space to think about the direction of our country and local communities and about how the representatives we elect might play their part to enable us grow and renew the world we live in.

“There is a saying that ‘all politics is local’. Whether we are being asked to vote in a local or European election or in a referendum on changing the Constitution, we are voting on what kind of society and community we want for ourselves and those young people who will come after us. I urge people to vote because it is your opportunity have a say. It is your opportunity to pass judgement on what policies will best answer the questions of our time and on how the performance of candidates or parties have matched what they promised in the past on a whole range of issues For Catholics, these issues can include, among others, the growing need for housing, broadband, Brexit and its impact on our border area, our care of God’s gift of creation – our common home, respect for all life, care of the elderly and the provision of much-needed education services for young people, especially for those with special needs – all of these are important considerations for voters.

“The referendum offers us a chance to reflect on the continuing importance of marriage and family in our society. The proposed amendment seeks to remove the four-year waiting time between a couple separating and being eligible for civil divorce. Catholics will have to reflect on the impact on such a proposal on our social commitment to marriage. We will also have to reflect on the need for the State to support marriages through counselling services and the provision of various human supports.

“I wish all candidates well and I pray that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can, together, build communities filled with the love of God, compassion, respect and a willingness to serve the common good.”

+Larry Duffy

Bishop of Clogher