Catholic bishops in Ethiopia have urged their faithful and fellow compatriots to exercise their "responsibility" to vote in elections slotted for May 15, 2005.
They said that eligible voters should not be swayed in their conscientious choice, neither by political indifference nor by political or economic persuasion.
Their 'Message of the Catholic Bishops on the Occasion of the Third Elections in Ethiopia 2005' is signed by Abune Berhaneyesus D Souraphiel CM, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa and President of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia.
"Some might be tempted to adopt. . .an attitude of political indifference and apathy because they are skeptical about the utility of their individual vote," the bishops said, explaining that "to abstain oneself from voting is not to fulfil one's responsibility as citizen."
They reminded voters "of policies which safeguard their noble human values such as the sanctity of life from conception, family integrity" as well as "freedom of conscience, respect for human life, freedom of religion and freedom of human rights."