Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez of Tehuacan, Mexico said last week the Church encourages citizens to exercise their right to vote not because of any interest in power, but because she desires the growth of democracy, as it is the path for development in Mexico.
“The democratic option is not a step already taken, but a process in transition, of which voting is an important part but not the only form of participation,” the bishops said in a recent statement about the upcoming July 5 elections for Congress.
Bishop Aguilar warned that abstaining from the voting booth “is to let others decide and to deny oneself the chance to object down the road.”
But leaving the ballot unchecked “is even worse,” he said, because it leaves open the door to fraud. “I think that the wisest choice is to exercise one’s vote in freedom and secrecy, for the party or candidate who offers the most guarantees for one’s own convictions and plans,” he said.
However, he added that after the elections, democracy must be sustained with “healthy criticism,” because “we all share responsibility.” He reminded Catholics that their faith must find expression in social development, “because faith without works is dead.”
“Christ Jesus died for all, so that we might have life in abundance, not only at the spiritual level, but also at the material. Of course, the material level must be at the service of higher goods,” he reminded.
Bishop Aguilar expressed support for “democracy as a system of government and of citizen participation,” and he called on Mexicans to move ahead in the process by overcoming disenchantment and pessimism.