Exercising citizenship. Voting for social justice and peace

  • In the spirit of acting with «open eyes, a sensitive heart and ready hands», that has accompanied us since our constitution.
  • Inspired by the social doctrine of the Church, elaborated in the light of the Gospel and enriched by the contributions of the people and the pastors who have accompanied it.
  • Responsible for listening to the signs of the times.
  • With a commitment to building a fairer and more equitable society.
  • Observing with concern the increase in political polarisation, aware that there is a certain risk of the erosion of democratic culture through the trivialisation of institutions and the generalised disqualification of those who represent the institutions, by economic, political and media interests.
  • From the work for the dignity of the person, human rights and the construction of peace.

We propose the following reflections, summarised in seven points, which may contribute to a mature and independent opinion of the citizenry with a view to the exercise of the vote in the General Elections on Sunday 23 July 2023.

  1. We consider that in the past legislature (2019-2023) there have been events that have had a significant impact on political, economic and social life. The Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine made necessary to reconsider priorities and to take decisions based on different parameters from those that the people responsible for politics and society were accustomed to.

  1. The government that emerges from future elections must develop a culture of solidarity in favour of people "discarded" by the system and work for their inclusion, not only in situations of need but at all times. It is important that political parties offer serious and daring programmes to eradicate poverty, along the lines of the proposals made by Caritas[1].

  1. Recognising the work of the coalition government in the face of unprecedented challenges, it is essential to maintain, continue and improve the progress made on social, economic, fiscal, labour and gender issues by the government that emerges from the future elections. We also understand that there is no social justice without an adequate fiscal justice based on redistributive criteria that allow for a strengthening of the Welfare State - education, health, social services, pensions, employment - and an adequate exercise of social rights. In this sense, we regret the perverse and confusing use that is being made of the word freedom in certain areas, linked to individualistic and hedonistic attitudes that show little solidarity.

  1. We deeply regret the warmongering discourse of the coalition government and its hyper-visibilisation in the Ukrainian war, without prejudice to our unreserved condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In this regard, we join Pope Francis in his efforts for peace and consider that the political party that emerges from the future elections must be resolutely committed to promoting a culture of peace and disarmament.

  1. Migration policies must not be based on the construction of a fortress Europe, exclusive and exclusionary, which turns a blind eye to the tragedies occurring on its doorstep. Events like the Arguineguin dock, Ceuta or Melilla cannot be allowed to happen again. The governments of the European Union, and therefore the Spanish government, cannot be allowed to close their eyes and look the other way. The government that emerges from the elections on 23 July must address at the national and European Union level - even more so coinciding with the six-month Spanish presidency - the structural causes that are at the root of migration and to take in the people who arrive with dignity and respect. Linked to this are the development cooperation policies that must overcome the dangers of new models of colonisation.

  1. The commitment to sustainable development must be at the heart of public policies. The new government must continue to support the Sustainable Development Goals in order to make progress in caring for people, managing resources and respecting nature and its environment.

  1. Finally, it is necessary to lay the foundations for societies that banish fear and uncertainty and promote the encounter between people. In this sense, we believe that there should be no place in citizens' voting choices for political proposals that promote the criminalisation of those who are different, racism and xenophobia.

The defence of all human, social, economic and cultural rights also requires a conscious, critical, informed and educated participation in the exercise of voting, which we cannot avoid. Not exercising this right means leaving our responsibility for our own contribution to the construction of a more just and peaceful world to other persons.

"There is a good policy that is based on charity and that builds society towards the common good, building bridges, looking at each person, living the offices in an attitude of service, with an eye on the most vulnerable people" [2].

General Commission for Justice and Peace

[1] Propuestas de Cáritas ante las Elecciones Generales 2023.

[2] Letter from the Bishop of Mondoñedo-El Ferrol, Mgr. García Cadiñanos, addressed to all the elected officials of his diocese in the last municipal elections.