In a document on the issue of voting in the country’s upcoming elections, the bishops of the Dominican Republic have called on voters to elect leaders who will care for the common good instead of the good of particular individuals.
The document, which was read in parishes across the country on Sunday, warns that failing to vote is a sign of irresponsibility and “deprives one of the right to demand that future legislative and municipal leaders look after the common good, above the good of particular individuals.”
The bishops recalled that voting is a duty of conscience and should not be done out of personal or selfish motives. They encouraged Catholics to vote for persons of integrity, honesty, and creativity in order to lay the groundwork for a better future.
The bishops also reiterated that while the Church is very much concerned about the electoral process, it does not identify with or sponsor a particular party. “Participation in politics by the faithful constitutes a true and proper duty. They should join parties that defend an authentic national policy,” the bishops said.
They rejected the idea of refusing to vote on the basis that no political party is good enough, “for this is not about electing the ideal or the perfect candidate, but rather about choosing the best one possible: nobody is perfect.” The urged citizens to vote out of conviction and not to be influenced by fear, blackmail or coercion.
The bishops also called on candidates to stop the personal attacks and to bring a more peaceful and respectful tone to the campaign.