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The Roman Catholic Bishops of Scotland have published their official statement on the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament.
The statement - to be read at all Masses week ending 1st /2nd May 1999 - outlines the Bishops' views on a series of issues facing the electors.

Roman Catholic Bishops of Scotland have published their official statement on the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament.

The statement - to be read at all Masses week ending 1st /2nd May 1999 - outlines the Bishops' views on a series of issues facing the electors.

Among the areas highlighted in the document are:

~ A concern that euthanasia could be allowed "via the back door" of the Scottish Parliament.  
~ A call for the lifting of the "heavy burden" of debt weighing on students following the introduction of tuition fees and the abolition of the student grant.  
~ A reminder of the Bishops' constant position that there can be no justification for stockpiling nuclear weapons in Scotland.  

Commenting on the statement, Cardinal Thomas Winning, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland said: "This document is underpinned by our constant concern for the common good of all Scots.

We greatly welcome the advent of a Scottish Parliament. This document sets out some of the themes we have constantly spoken about in recent years. It highlights the issues we believe to be priorities facing the New Scotland. "





"MAKE THE CROSS COUNT"
A pre-election statement by  
the Catholic Bishops of Scotland '


Our own parliament for the first time in almost 300 years!

This is a development we welcome.

Today's voters, both nationally and locally, have a unique responsibility: that of building afresh on the solid foundations of Scotland's past. Scotland's historic place within the United Kingdom and among the nations of Europe was identified with the cross of Saint Andrew- ever a sign of death and new life. Catholics in Scotland are committed to playing their part in shaping Scotland's future.


Our vision is of a land where every man, woman and child is respected and valued for who they are rather than what they have or what they do.  

Our vision is of a nation where people are not shackled by history; where prejudice on grounds of creed, colour or race is outlawed forever.  

Our vision is of a community in which the common good rather than narrow self-interest is our motivation.  

Our vision is of a country where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential in life - spiritually, educationally, socially... where people have the chance to "be all they can be".  

It is not our intention to advise electors which party or candidates they should favour. We urge you to use your vote at both national and local level according to your conscience and make a difference on May 6. Make the Cross count on election day by saying...



Yes to a Fresh Start
Our expectation for the new Parliament is of a participative, constructive assembly, not enslaved by ideology;' but committed to the common good. We believe the Scottish people can and will focus on the main issues facing us. We trust that politicians too will focus on these issues.

Yes to Life
We are at our weakest when coming into and departing from this world. That is why our children and our brothers and sisters who are elderly or ill need our protection. Abortion and euthanasia are violations of the basic right of the very young and the very old to exist. We must ensure that those elected on May 6 will enshrine a respect for life in the foundations of our new democracy, and, at the same time, reject any moves towards living wills which legally bind our doctors, so-called mercy killing and experimentation on human beings.

Yes to Education
We want all Scots to have the chance to "learn to the limit", to realise their potential for knowledge and skills. We call for the provision of an education system that is free to all,' including those at university level, and includes adequate student maintenance grants. Our Catholic schools have served the community well. We are justifiably proud of their achievements. We are confident that our new legislators will reassure the Catholic community that their legitimate freedom in educational choice will continue to be respected and supported.

Yes to the Poor, the Sick and the Marginalised
Catholic social teaching recognises the advantages of the market economy but emphasises the primacy of the human person. People come first. This should imply a united and determined effort to rid society of the evils of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, addiction and violence. The National Health Service is of vital importance in the new Scotland. It has a proud history of service to the sick, but every day new demands are placed upon it. Politicians must be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that adequate funding is made available for the care of the sick and the elderly.  

Yes to the Family
A family-friendly Scotland is our aim: faithful to the traditions of strong family life which have distinguished our nation throughout history, and offering genuine and practical support to wives, husbands and children to carry out their God-given tasks.

Early in the next Parliament legislation on family life will be discussed. We call on our future MSPs to promote marriage as the foundation of family life; to find new and creative ways of making family and career commitments compatible.

Our hopes for a new Scotland also extend to areas not currently devolved to the new Parliament.

Even though these issues are not devolved, we continue to promote a Scotland where nuclear weapons are banished and resources re-targeted to our people's needs.

A Scotland where standards in the media reflect common decency and our distinctive Scottish identity.

None of this can take place without hard work and much effort. Those who are elected to local Government or to the new Parliament deserve our prayers and support at this time of great opportunity for Scotland.

We owe it to future generations of Scots to take the time and effort now to make the cross count for years to come


MAKE THE CROSS COUNT

ON MAY 6!

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