10 November 2014, The Tablet

Election guidance and ecumenical milestone on bishops' agenda

Guidance for Catholics voting in next year’s general election will be high on the agenda when English and Welsh bishops gather in Leeds this week for their biannual meeting.

Four bishops – Peter Smith of Southwark, Declan Lang of Clifton, Terence Drainey of Middlesbrough and John Sherrington, a Westminster auxiliary – are overseeing the text of the guidance document, which is likely to be issued as a letter early next year, urging Catholics to use their vote in the election set for May.

The document, which is said to be relatively short, will not focus on specific policies but rather set out principles that Catholics should take into account when voting. These are likely to include life issues, poverty, the nature of marriage and caring for the world. But it will also say that voting should not be about a “single issue”.

It is normal for the bishops to issue documents before a general election, the most prominent in recent times being The Common Good, issued in 1996 and focusing on Catholic Social Teaching.

On Tuesday the bishops will attend an Ecumenical Vespers at Leeds Catholic Cathedral to mark the fiftieth anniverary of the issuing of the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio. Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, will speak.

In their meetings at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, the bishops are also set to discuss the appointment of a new director of the national shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, in Norfolk; hear updates from the work of the bishops’ conference and discuss a replacement for Bishop Kieran Conry to lead the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the nuncio to Great Britain, will also both give addresses.

After the plenary meeting concludes, the bishops will attend the ordination and installation of Mgr Marcus Stock as the new Bishop of Leeds.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99