For Mgr Socrates Villegas, president of the Bishops’ Conference, “One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanour are diametrically opposed”. Winners should not seek revenge, but show respect for "the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace”.
Manila (AsiaNews) – Mgr Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), issued a letter to his “dear countrymen” ahead of next week’s elections (9 May) for president, congress, and local government.
“Whoever wins honestly, whoever takes the oath of his or her office seriously, whoever strives to heal the wounds of the divisiveness of politics, whoever respects the rights of all and is earnest in his or her fear of God and is zealous for his precepts has the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines,” the letter says.
Mgr Villegas, who is the archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, said that CBCP does not endorse any candidate, and that citizens are free to vote as they please. However, for the prelate, voting must be “a public declaration of faith” by Catholic believers who cannot choose “a candidate who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible”.
For the archbishop, “One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanour are diametrically opposed”.
“The desire for change is understandable” among Filipinos. “Our people have suffered from incompetence and indifference. But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate [. . .] who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the Church, specially her moral teachings.”
The CBCP president renewed his call on citizens to pray for the success of the elections, through a rosary a day, and the Holy Communion.
Unfortunately, “The campaign period has been rancorous,” the prelate said. “This is regrettable. Many wounds have been inflicted. This is true not only of candidates but also of their supporters. Even close friends have parted ways because of differences in political persuasion”.
Whatever the outcome of the elections, Mgr Villegas urges everyone to “be instruments of peace, reconciliation and healing. “
To the winners, he said not to seek vengeance, but show respect for “the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace”.
In concluding his message, the CBCP president invokes “the Blessed Mother to cover our nation with her maternal love and to beseech her Son to grant us all the favour of meaningful, peaceful elections and a government thereafter that unifies our people in the sight of God and in accordance with His will.”