They write that the 2019 General Election is an “opportunity to elect an individual representative who reflects as closely as possible our beliefs.”
They also call for restraint in the face of deep divisions over Brexit and urge parishioners to use the present uncertainty to reflect on God.
“It can be a chance to proclaim the inherent dignity and value of every human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and to promote the common good,” they write.
“In recent times, politics has become divisive, principally, though not exclusively, as a result of the EU referendum. Vigorous debate has sometimes spilled over into personal attacks and even acts of violence which are never acceptable.
“Uncertain times ought to make us stop and reflect on the One who is truth himself. Turning to God in these difficult times is our only hope for true peace.”
Signatories of the letter include Hugh Gilbert, President of the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, and Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.
They tell parishioners to urge candidates to legislate for the protection of life “from the moment of conception until natural death”, and “remind our politicians that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as the Church has consistently taught, always morally unacceptable.”
“Decriminalisation of abortion unhappily paves the way towards a legal basis for abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth and politicians should be urged to resist it,” they say.
“Our Governments should also promote a culture of life overseas, reversing the current practice of the UK Government to support anti-life initiatives, which might be described as ideological colonisation.”
They go on to warn of a “creeping intolerance towards religious belief, including but not confined to Christianity, has become part of life in modern Britain.”
“Certain politicians and citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to be true to their faith in an environment that tries to restrict religion to the private sphere,” they write.
“Our MPs should be urged to legislate for a liberal and tolerant society that is truly welcoming to all faiths and none.
“Millions of people worldwide are persecuted for their beliefs. People of faith, including Christians, should be able to practise their faith freely and to bear witness to it in their lives without fear of prejudice, intolerance, abuse or violence.Candidates for Parliament should be committed to the right of people not to be forced to act against their conscience, and the next UK Government should campaign against religious persecution and intolerance around the world.”