The Irish Catholic Bishops have issued a statement regarding the forthcoming European elections on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May.
The bishops emphasised the responsibility of each citizen for voting, and encouraged them to vote for the common good.
They said: “It is evident to us all that our world and our society is increasingly globalised. Politics is local; it is also regional, national, European and international. What is decided by MEPs in the European Parliament affects us all here on the island of Ireland.
“Similarly, our vote and our elected representatives in Europe can influence debates and decisions taken at EU level, which often have the potential to contribute to development and peace in the wider world.”
With respect to the potential implications of brexit for the citizens of Ireland, the Bishops said that it “has rarely been more important” for Irish citizens to participate in the European elections, in an informed and conscientious manner.
On the foundations of the European Union, the bishops said: “That the EU faces profound challenges today is evident to all. However, that does not mean that we should disengage from it.
“The Treaty of the European Union outlines that the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. Let us also remember that the European Union, in its foundation, was rooted in Christian principles of social justice, including the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity.”
The bishops also remembered the Irish missionary, Saint Columbanus, who has been described as ‘Ireland’s first European’. They also remembered Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), co-patroness of Europe, who suffered and died as a result of war in Europe.
In conclusion, the bishops said: “On the eve of the European Parliament elections, we continue to pray through the intercession of Saint Columbanus and Saint Teresa for wisdom and right judgement for our political and civic leaders in our own country, in Europe, and throughout the world.”
For the full statement click here.