The Jesuit Institute South Africa has called for conscience to take precedence in Parliament as MPs vote in the Motion of No Confidence against President Jacob Zuma.
Fr Russell Pollitt SJ said MPs were urged not to be “puppets in a political establishment that seeks to suppress your basic moral obligation” and should make informed conscionable decisions. “Every indication suggests that South Africa now stands on a political precipice. The country cannot continue to function under a leadership that has lost its way in the mire of scandals and corruption.”
The Institute’s call reiterates the view of the South African Council of Churches, which stated in an earlier statement that “the current government has lost all moral legitimacy to lead South Africa”.
“There has been an irrevocable breakdown in trust between the country’s leadership and people. Numerous opportunities to restore this trust have been repeatedly missed,” said Fr Pollitt. The deteriorating socio-political and economic environment under the current leadership must be key in MPs’ discernment as they carry out their duties for the country.
“We, with civil society, stand ready to support anyone who chooses conscience above all else.” The director urged MPs to think beyond themselves, but rather the common good, and the future of their children and grandchildren. “Nobody has the right to violate or override individual conscience; we condemn any such violation in the strongest terms,” the statement said, adding that any violation should not be tolerated.
The Catholic Church holds to and teaches that deep within a person, their conscience discovers a law which they have not laid upon themselves but which must be obeyed. Conscience invites people to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil. It sounds in the human heart at the right moment. This law in the human heart is inscribed by God. Conscience is the human person’s most secret core and sanctuary. SA
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