.- The Bishops' Conference of Colombia has released a voter's guide focused on life, family and poverty as the country prepares for upcoming congressional and presidential elections.
Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, president of the conference, presented the statement during a press conference at the conclusion of the bishops’ 96th Plenary Assembly last week.
In choosing leaders, the bishops said, voters should take into account the duty politicians have to address “the suffering caused by poverty, access to adequate nutrition, decent housing, an efficient public health care system, quality education and decent jobs that pay a just wage.”
They also said leaders must address the problems of rural communities, the working class, those who have been displaced and the victims of violence. Candidates must demonstrate “an effective commitment to establishing public policies” that provide real solutions to “the profound causes of the social conflict.”
The bishops called on elected officials to offer “proposals with ethical and moral principles that are authentically human” and that defend “the fundamental right to life” and “the nature of marriage and the family.”
After noting the duty voters have to actively participate in the elections, the bishops said, “We cannot be content with pessimistic apathy or fruitless lamentation...We should adopt a responsible and proactive attitude.”
They called on candidates to carry out a transparent campaign and voiced concern about the establishing of a “political anti-culture” characterized by excessive lobbying, illicit gain, association with illegal groups and the lack of transparency in the awarding of contracts.
The bishops called on Colombians to pray for the upcoming elections and that those elected “will be instruments of God’s plan and can contribute to achievement of a just and reconciled Colombia at peace.”