By Meg Jalsevac

  WARSAW, October 16, 2007 ( – Penned at their annual Conference in Warsaw, the Catholic bishops of Poland have collectively issued a letter that was to be read at all parishes on Sunday, October 14.  In the letter the bishops are urging Catholics to vote with “nonnegotiable values” in mind and to therefore support “only those political groups that favor protection of life from the moment of conception, that respect family rights and that demonstrate by their activities deep concern about Poland and respect for its tradition stemming from Christian roots.”

  The upcoming election will be held on October 21 and was called when the current ruling party, the Law and Justice Party, lost their parliamentary majority.  Presently, both the president and the prime minister of Poland are ardently pro-life. 

  The letter reads, “We ask all lay faithful and clergy in our country and beyond its borders to pray for the homeland and participate in large numbers.  But we also need to vote properly, which means in accordance with moral conviction. Believers should give their vote to people whose attitude and views are close, or at least not opposed, to the Catholic faith and Catholic values.”

  The pastoral letter cautioned Polish clergy to “respect the maturity of laypeople” in their guidance and condemned any party that claimed “to speak in the church’s name or claim its support.” 

  While the bishops refrained from promoting any specific party or individual they said that certain political parties were “closer to the Christian vision of the person and society” while others were “distant from church teaching or even opposed to it.”

  Differing polling agencies have resulted in starkly contrasting poll results with one agency reporting that the incumbent Law and Justice Party was favored to win and another contending that the liberal Civic Platform challenging party was set to win.

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