Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 8, 2010
British bishops say big gov't erodes responsibility
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
LONDON - The bishops of England and Wales have criticized the British government's growth, saying that it was undermining the ability of people to live upstanding lives.
In a 10-page document published March 3 called, Choosing the Common Good, the bishops said local communities would prosper if the public recovered the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude.
They also criticized legislation that limited the rights of Christians to contribute to the common good.
"Have we allowed ourselves to be seduced by the myth that social problems are for the government to deal with?" the bishops asked in the document.
The statement was published to offer advice to voters ahead of the 2010 general election, which must be held by June.
"No government can solve every problem, nor make us more generous or responsive to need," the document said.
"The growth of regulations, targets and league tables, which are tools designed to make public services accountable, are no substitute for actions done as a free gift because the needs of a neighbour have to be met," it said.
At a press conference releasing the document, Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, Wales, said the government appeared "obsessed" with targets and new laws.
Such a trend, he said, had led to a "tendency in recent years to think that the government has to do everything."
"That means that people think, 'I don't have to bother,'" he said.
The Labour government has passed about 370 pieces of legislation and created 3,500 new crimes since it was elected in 1997.
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