Philippine Bishops’ president, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, delivered a homily during the “Solidarity Mass for Vote” at the Baclaran Church on Wednesday, April 6.
With the Philippine May 9 general election a little over a month away, the leader of the country’s Catholic bishops is calling on voters not to gamble away the country’s future by being indifferent to the plight of others.
The vote – a moral choice
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), urged the faithful of the largely Catholic country to actively engage in politics by supporting candidates who have the necessary skills and experience to perform well in their office.
He made the call on Wednesday at the “Solidarity Mass for the Moral Choice” at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, in Metro Manila’s Paranaque City.
Numerous bishops, priests, and religious men and women of the Manila Metropolitan See attended the Mass presided over by its archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula.
Bishop David, who preached the homily in the Tagalog language insisted that now is not the time to be complacent about the country’s situation. “Our low regard and inaction to politics will not bring development. Let us not gamble the future of our country.” “Let us fight indifference. Let us be concerned for the welfare of others,” he said. “We are all interconnected. What’s bad for them is bad for us… As good Christians, we have a responsibility to God to vote correctly and in accordance with conscience on May 9, 2022,” he urged.
The election will give the country a new president, vice president, 12 senators, and a new term for local officials.
Bishop David also urged voters not to be swayed by disinformation, especially on social media. “We can be blinded by lies and deception. It can put the conscience to sleep and can harden us like rocks,” he said asking them to always side with the truth even if it is unpopular and “even if it hurts”.
The CBCP head said that Christians are called to vote rightly and according to their conscience and not be swayed by mass trends. “Don’t just rely on others. We need to be involved. Let us work to change our political culture, even if little by little,” he said.
Church and politics
Speaking about the role of bishops he said, “Our primary duty is to guide our countrymen in listening to God’s whisper on how a disciple of Christ should vote.” “This role of ours has become even more severe in the current situation of our country — especially now that the main issue in the field of politics has to do with spiritual and moral: the issue of ‘truth’ and ‘falsehood’.
“Our low regard and inaction to politics will not bring development. Let us not gamble the future of our country.”
The Church’s failure to play its role in politics in the past, he noted, resulted in negative reactions when Church leaders started to speak out. He said that more than ever, the Church has a bigger task in the coming elections because the major issues raised during the campaign period concern morality, the truth, and lies.
No enemies except Satan
The head of the country’s Catholic bishops told Filipinos not to treat each other as enemies despite their political differences, especially in this year’s national elections. “We have no other enemy in this world than the prince of lies, Satan. He is the only one the Church has taught us to reject, ever since our baptism,” the 63-year-old bishop said, urging the faithful to be more involved in politics and stand for the truth. “Sometimes anger and hatred can serve as blindfolds that cover our eyes,” he warned.
Bishop David pointed out the fallacy in the argument, “Vote for the popular and winnable”. “Where is the concern in that attitude?” he asked. “Let us share by doing our role,” he urged, calling on the faithful not to leave to others the choice of leaders. “We should be involved, we should be part of it, let us change even little by little our political culture.” “If we look down at political action, then it will not result in development,” he added.
The CBCP president suggested several criteria to help voters choose their leaders honestly. He said candidates should embody love for God and country, who will advocate for the environment, who have respect for human life, dignity and rights, who will maintain and strengthen democracy, who will rectify the culture of corruption in the country, and at the same time know how to listen to the voice of the people, especially the little ones.
“We can be blinded by lies and deception. It can put the conscience to sleep and can harden us like rocks”
The “Solidarity Mass for the Moral Choice” was in response to the CBCP’s call for prayer for a credible and peaceful election next month. The Archdiocese of Manila had earlier issued a notice saying Wednesday’s Eucharistic celebration will be in response to CBCP’s request in its pastoral letter, “Be Concerned about the Welfare of Others”, released on March 27.
With thanks to Robin Gomes and Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.