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Catholic voters in Scotland are getting an election message from Bishops urging them not to vote for candidates who support abortion, gay marriages and assisted suicide.
The statement, which will be made available to all of Scotland's 500 Catholic parishes, is called "Make Your Faith Count!" and urges Catholics to "think carefully before you cast your vote."
"As Catholics we know the importance of protecting every human life and of the value that married family life gives to society.
These values were once widely shared but times have changed. Many of those standing for election, of whatever party, do not share our basic principles and values.
"That is why we say to you: when you vote, make your faith count. Vote with your faith to protect human life; to support marriage and the family; to protect religious freedom; to protect Catholic education. Vote with your faith, and uphold the right of conscience and religious freedom.
"In urging you to let your faith count at the ballot box, we ask you to think carefully before you cast your vote. Which candidate displays values closest to yours? Which candidate will best respect and protect your religious freedom and your freedom of conscience? Which candidate do you trust most to do a good job for you and your community?
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, President of the Bishops' Conference, said:"It is crucially important that apathy is not allowed to win in this election, I hope Catholic voters will make the cross count by quizzing their candidates on the important moral matters which affect us and that they use the resources which the Bishops' Conference has provided to inform themselves on as wide a range of issues as possible."
The Cardinal has previously been highly critical of Prime Minister Gordon Brown over human embryo development.
The Catholic Parliamentary Office has also circulated a candidate questionnaire to all Scottish candidates, asking them their views abortion, the family, justice, religious freedom and assisted suicide and euthanasia.
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