I AM SORRY to read that the leaders of LIFE and SPUC are taking such a negative stand against the bishops' discussion document The Common Good, although I suppose it is predictable as they seem to be suffering from tunnel vision.
I have devoted much time over the years to helping the pro-life cause, but when it comes to voting in a general election there are many other issues that need to be taken into consideration. Surely to try to build a society in which all people are valued equally and treated with dignity, where all have the right to work in decent conditions and for a fair wage, and in which people are genuinely concerned to seek solutions to the problems of poverty and suffering in the Third World, together with care for the environment and respect for our planet should be at the top of our agenda. It seems to me that these are all pro-life issues and if we elect candidates who share these values, then in a fairer society women would not have to make such agonising decisons about the life of their unborn babies. We must work to create a society in which no one feels that their only way out is to deny the right to life.
We must certainly continue to educate and inform people about abortion but fighting an election will not solve anything. Without a change in attitudes it could just make things worse.
Tina Nkhols Guildford, Surrey
I AM DISMAYED that the bishops hope parishes in the weeks before the General Election will debate what they claim is the social teaching of the Church. The bishops shouldn't really be so dogmatic as to whether it is or not. Not everything the Church says is the teaching of the Church, and even if it is it may be open to interpretation.
Cardinal flume's call to make prolife issues the single most important issue at the General Election, and that it is vital that we vote pro-life, is being undermined by the bishops. I therefore intend to form a group called Pro-Life First, which recognises that pro-life issues are primary, whilst recognising there may be other issues.
It will accept that whilst the Free Market can have specific faults, it is a powerful force for the common good, not least because economic and political freedom are closely linked.
The mass killing of the unborn goes on, as well as the threatened elimination of the old, sick and infirm through euthansia, and our liberal, Leftist bishops really aren't that bothered at all, intent on pushing their pet causes at the expense of pro-life issues. Many Catholics would call that passing by on the other side. The pro-life movement is supported by those on the moderate Left and Right, and all parties, but they all agree that whatever our views may be on other things, pro-life issues are
crucial. Are any other Catholics interested in the group?
Michael Breheny Leeds
THE REACTION OF the anti-abortion groups to The Common Good confirms a feeling I have had for some time: these people's political naviety is damaging their cause. To push the case against abortion forwards, they must win converts, not huddle in self-righteous little groups. What a marvellous opportunity the favourable reception given to The Common Good is to show that opposition to abortion follows naturally from the same world view that wishes to see a fairer economic system and greater international justice.
I have found that many decent people close their minds to arguments against abortion because they have been led to believe that it is a "Right-wing" issue. There are so many who could be won over, but who see who those opposed to abortion mix with, and dismiss them as hypocrites who care little for human life after birth. It is essential that antiabortionists open out from the stereotype they are being pushed towards. Sadly, SPUC and LLFE's sour dismissal of The Common Good will just reinforce the prejudices that act as a barrier to clear thinking on this issue.
Dr Matthew Huntbach London SE13