Church Makes Plea as Guinea-Bissau Nears Elections

The Church in this western African nation has issued guidelines for the upcoming legislative elections, calling for political figures to show integrity and fairness.

"The Legislative Elections at the Door: Guidelines from the Bishops of Guinea Bissau in the Light of the Word of God and the Social Teaching of the Church" is the title of a letter, issued in view of the March 28 elections.

Quoting Psalm 101, the bishops "outline the profile of an ideal politician whose behavior is characterized by perfect moral integrity and firm commitment against injustice."

This country of 1.3 million has come through a civil war 1998-99, and a bloody coup last September.

In the letter the bishops write: "Christians must follow the teaching of the Church with regard to certain values: moral integrity, honesty and competence as servants of society; respect for the sacred and inviolable character of human life; respect for religion and freedom to profess and practice faith; promotion of the dignity of the human person without discrimination of class, gender, ethnic origin; respect for the family the shrine of life, founded on marriage which the state has to duty to support, defend, protect so it may fulfill its mission."