Panaji, Dec 28: Goa Church will issue guidelines to Christians to help them decide "the right candidate" to vote for in the next year's Assembly elections. The Church, however, clarified that it will not canvass for any candidate or the party.
"Elections to the legislative Assembly are approaching and Church leadership in Goa will take up this duty bound task once again. We do issue guidelines to our faithful on how to exercise their franchise and thus fulfill one of their sacred civic duties," Archbishop of Goa and Daman Rev Fr Filipe Neri Ferrao said on Wednesday while addressing a customary reception on Christmas.
He said though the guidelines are read out in churches, they never mention name of any candidate or any political party. The function was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar among others.However, the archbishop said the faithfuls are requested to vote as per their conscience.
He lamented that "certain elements today accuse the church in India of being involved in conversions."
"Our institutions have been attacked, robbed, burnt down and the perpetrators of this crime often goes scot free. It is almost as if the tiny three percent is posing a serious threat for the disintegration of the whole nation," Ferrao said.
Referring to the illegal mining issue, the archbishop said the church is the trustee of this land.
"It is our solemn duty to ensure that the value of the land is passed on to our future generation. All generation and all within a generation would benefit equally. But what we see is extensive environmental and social damage to Goa which has generated rampant corruption and even weakened governance. It has been an assault on our community and our natural wealth, more distressingly it has been a loss to our children and our future generation," he said.