03/15/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Bishops “will not endorse candidates in May elections”

In an official document, the President of the National Bishops Conference explains that it is not the pastoral duty of bishops to inform the political choices of believers, but to bring the faithful around the values of the Gospel.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has rejected a government invitation to endorse preferred candidates in the upcoming May 14 elections.  Moreover they have also clarified that “the move would be pastorally unwise and could be politically counter-productive”.

 

The statement signed by CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, reads “In the end, we cannot be genuinely sure whether the candidates who have been dictated on the voters will really serve them. Proof of this is the past experience of elections”.

 

Moreover, “As pastors, bishops should be a sign of truth and unity, teaching vividly and bringing the faithful together around the values of the Gospel. Direct involvement in partisan elections would destroy the said role. We cannot endorse parties or candidates”.

 

This statement by the Bishops Conference concludes the debate which had sprung up in recent months within the Philippine Church, over whether it was correct to become actively involved in national politics.

 

While appreciating some bishop’s suggestions – such as inviting the faithful to vote candidate profiles – msgr Lagdameo clarified that “The Church, understood in its totality of both pastors and believers, must remain independent.  Each person must discern for themselves, and make their personal choices”.

 

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