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Xalapa archdiocese gives guidelines for 'responsible discernment' in Mexican legislative election

A basketball court serves as a polling place for voters during the 2018 Mexican general election, in Hermosillo, Sonora. Credit: Harry Thomas Flower/Shutterstock. A basketball court serves as a polling place for voters during the 2018 Mexican general election, in Hermosillo, Sonora. Credit: Harry Thomas Flower/Shutterstock.

The Archdiocese of Xalapa offered on Sunday four guidelines for  “responsible discernment” when casting a vote in the upcoming legislative election.

On June 6, Mexicans will vote for 500 representatives to the federal congress and more than 20,000 local offices, such as governors, local representatives, and mayors.

Fr. José Manuel Suazo, director of communications for the Xalapa archdiocese, said in a May 23 statement that "on June 6, more than 93 million Mexicans will have the responsibility of electing our leaders and legislators." 

These politicians, he added, "will be entrusted with the noble task of putting into action all their skills and knowledge to help our country have the conditions for progress and that support the rule of law.”

The archdiocesan spokesman stressed that "the Christian faith contains a set of truths that are non-negotiable and contribute to making everyone's life to be treated with dignity."

In particular, Fr. Suazo singled out “respect for the life of every person from conception to natural death; natural marriage as the foundation for the family; the family as the basic cell of society and the value of human freedom to live and be organized according to our convictions, whether as individuals or in association.”

There have been recent attempts to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage in various states or on the federal level, and the country has been plagued by drug cartel violence and political corruption for decades.

"The scenarios that we are experiencing in our country require us to exercise  responsible and serious discernment that will help us vote conscientiously according to our values and convictions, in a free, reasoned and informed manner," he said.

Fr. Suazo encouraged voters not to be fooled by the promise of benefits “that will last you a week or a month but will rob you of your freedoms and your values." 

The priest then offered four guidelines for responsible voting.

First, “to respect the will of the people. Elections are won with votes and the people have the right to freely choose their leaders and legislators.” 

"Hopefully the separation of powers will be respected and power structures won’t be used to intimidate, pressure or manipulate social actors."

Second, “to vote in a civic and orderly manner. The more people participate in the elections in an organized fashion, the greater the chances that our society will mature and be co-responsible in working for the common good.”

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"Voting is a right and an obligation," he stressed.

Third, “to pray individually or as a community.” The Mexican people have to “pray that the June 6 election day will be conducted in peace and harmony; so that with our vote, motivated by faith, we will show our commitment to Mexico.”

“The vote on June 6 is a golden opportunity” and we should “not let it pass us by. Our country deserves and needs it,” he said.

Fourth, to “seek the ‘the good that’s possible.’ In the complex and imperfect context such as the one we are experiencing, the search for the ‘good that’s possible’ must prevail, which although modest, we are all obliged to seek."

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“Doing the 'good that’s possible' means promoting what contributes to the common good, peace, security, justice, the rule of law, respect for human rights, integral human development and real solidarity with the those who are poorest and more excluded," Suazo said, and encouraged the faithful to not confuse "goodness with convenience."

The archdiocesan director of communications emphasized that “we must maintain our hope and optimism. The dark night that we are going through can’t last forever.”

“The Mexico we want is possible, but we must build it together, which is why our participation is essential. With our informed, free and discerned vote we can achieve it, ” he concluded.

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