Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
February 19, 2001
Spiritus presses for common good
Catholic group offers questions to ask politicians
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Even before the March 12 provincial election was announced, a grassroots Catholic organization was doing its own campaigning.
Spiritus, a year-old political lobby group made up of Catholics from school trustees to the Knights of Columbus, kicked off Campaign 2001 . . . for the Good of All, Feb. 8.
"We want to encourage responsible voting," said Colin MacIsaac, Spiritus president. "We have to remind ourselves to do more than just go out and vote . . . we need to vote with a conscience."
The goal of the campaign is not to advise people who to vote for. Spiritus does not identify itself with any political party, "but does pass moral judgment in matters related to politics whenever fundamental human rights issues require it."
"Whatever political colour we may wear as citizens, we still remain the same Christian person committed to the basic teachings of the Church about the sanctity of life, social justice issues, solidarity with our fellow citizens and the common good," MacIsaac said.
In its efforts to help Albertans vote with a conscience, Spiritus has posted on its website and handed out in information packages to parishes throughout the province a series of basic questions voters should ask candidates.
The group also sent out a checklist to the electoral candidates throughout Alberta asking them whether they support such matters as government funded for-profit health care facilities, government investment in affordable housing, increased funding for programs for children up to five years of age and increased funding to post-secondary institutions.
The general idea of the campaign, said MacIsaac, is to encourage a responsible government by promoting human dignity and family life. Although the majority of people he meets support the work of Spiritus, MacIsaac said some are opposed to any connection between Church and state. He recalls meeting with a parish council whose members "said they didn't want to get involved in politics."
But politics is part of the Catholic faith, MacIsaac said. "We have family values and moral values and that stays with us in our home, our work . . . everything we do."
The intention is to look at public policies and how they relate to the common good, not to saturate the political podium with Christian ideologies.
"The top issue has to be the common good in terms of the poor and vulnerable in our society. Are we doing all we can for those who are marginalized?"
Spiritus offers four basic questions for voters to ask candidates:
The Spiritus website is located at www.spiritus.ab.ca.
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