In Voting, “you write history”: Mauritian Bishop Cautions Youths against Voter Apathy, Urges Responsible Participation

Bishop Jean Michaël Durhône of the Catholic Diocese of Port Louis in Mauritius. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Port Louis

Bishop Jean Michaël Durhône of the Catholic Diocese of Port Louis in Mauritius has urged young people to participate responsibly in the country’s general elections scheduled for November 30.

In a Pastoral letter issued Tuesday, April 16, Bishop Durhône said young people have a civic responsibility to vote.

“Many countries complain of a high abstention rate among young people when it comes to voting. This is also an issue for us in Mauritius. Isn't it important to perform the political act of voting?” the Local Ordinary of Port Louis said.

The Mauritian Catholic Church leader, who was consecrated Bishop of Port Louis Diocese in August last year said, “When it comes to political challenges, young people also have a responsibility to develop a project for society in their schools and parishes.”

“As a conscious and responsible citizen, you have the right and the duty to choose the representatives and managers of your future. Through your vote, you write history and generate progress, employment, security, honesty and justice,” the Catholic Bishop said. 


Bishop Durhône added, “Let your vote reflect your values, your dreams and your faith, while always respecting those who think differently from you.”

He explained, “This civic awareness commits you to discerning and choosing plans and programs that indicate, clearly and realistically, how to meet social, economic or ecological challenges, based on ethical and moral principles that respect human rights, such as life in all its expressions, personal, social and religious freedom, fairness, and equal opportunities in work, health and education.”

“That's why Pope Francis is asking young people not to let the merchants of death steal their dreams. He invites young people to reflect on and formulate their own plans for society,” Bishop Durhône said.

The Bishop of Port Louis underscored the importance of young people understanding the meaning of living in a political and civic manner.

“In solidarity with humankind, you cannot turn your back on the realities of this rapidly changing world. It's your duty as a citizen to get involved in building the future of the Mauritian society,” the Catholic Church leader said in his April 16 pastoral letter.

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He continued, “It's up to you to help restore politics to its rightful place. By reappropriating politics and citizenship, political commitment can become a path of hope.”

“Does political and civic awareness only need to be cultivated at election time?” the Catholic Bishop posed, and added, “It's clear that reflection is essential if we are to succeed in building Mauritian society as one people, as one nation, in peace, justice and liberty.”

The Mauritian Catholic Church leader said he firmly believes in the potential of the youths of the country, a potential he said deserves to be brought to light.

According to the Bishop of Port-Louis, young people are often viewed in a negative light.

However, he said, “All we have to do is give young people the space they need to demonstrate their potential and achieve great things for their country.”


“We have a responsibility to work for the good of society. This civic and political awareness also makes us aware of how we control certain acts of violence,” the Bishop said.

“We must remain on our feet, awake and vigilant, echoing what our Master Jesus Christ himself reminds us in the Gospel,” Bishop Durhône said.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.