PORTLAND (AP) – The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is urging church members to be guided by moral principles when they go to the polls in November, and to pay heed to the tax cap referendum.

Bishop Richard Malone, the spiritual leader for Maine’s 234,000 Roman Catholics, sent a letter to pastors to remind parishioners that voting is not only a civic duty, but also a Christian responsibility.

In his letter, Malone included a list of 10 principles he hopes people will use to develop an “ethical and moral framework” to decide on the tax cap referendum, which proposes capping taxes at 1 percent of a property’s assessed value.

Supporters say the tax cap is needed so property owners aren’t forced out of their homes because they can’t afford to pay high taxes. But critics say it will gut municipal and school budgets and decimate local services.

Malone wrote that Catholics are called upon to place the needs of the less fortunate above a person’s own selfish interest.

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