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Fiji Time: 6:58 AM on Wednesday 3 September

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Think before you vote

Nasik Swami
Friday, July 18, 2014

WITH the looming general election, the head of the country's second largest Christian denomination, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong urged Catholics to make informed decisions for the betterment of the country when they cast their votes on September 17.

Archbishop Chong said the election was an important part of the country's history because it would define our future.

Speaking at a workshop organised for the church leaders and politicians at the St Joseph's Secondary School in Suva yesterday, he said while the church was apolitical, it had a responsibility to inform its members to make wise decisions.

"The Catholic Church recognises that the political decisions of the Fijian people in the election will define the future of our nation," Archbishop Chong said.

He said the church would contribute towards building a better Fiji.

"The Catholic Church, therefore, wishes to contribute to building a better Fiji by helping our Catholics make a well-informed political decision based on the scriptures and the teachings of the church."

He said politics could be understood in the wider and more general sense as the dynamic organisation of the whole life of the society.

"In this respect, it constitutes a duty of responsible and active human participation for all citizens.

"The church is not an expert in politics. Rather, the church is an expert in the gospel of Jesus Christ and whatever that pertains to the promotion and protection of the human person as a son and daughter of God.

"The Catholic Church is clear in her role in politics. Pope Paul VI's letter clearly states the role of the church and State are separate."

Archbishop Chong said the United States Conference of Bishops defined the church's role in politics as one of forming the conscience of people so they made well-informed and responsible decisions.

"Hence, the church seeks to equip its members to address political and social questions by helping them to develop a well-informed conscience.

"Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their conscience in accord with human reason and the teaching of the church."


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