Catholic vote
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - May 8, 2019 - 12:00am

With the midterm elections already this Monday, an intriguing question that has time and again eluded any real answer continues to be asked by a few disaffected souls, apparently desperate to latch on to something from which they can build on their preconceived notion, like an interrogator badgering a witness for the answer he loves to hear.

But of course there is no Catholic vote. There is not even a Christian vote in whatever denominational manifestation anyone might care to insist upon. Christ, after all, never wanted any part of Caesar's worldly politics and governance, his mission having been and always will be clear-cut and divine.

It is therefore a complete waste of time for anyone to bank on the thought that there might be a Catholic vote, inspired no doubt, albeit erroneously, by statistics that say the Philippines is a country that is at least 80 percent Catholic. But if even that number is nominal only in spiritual practice, what more could be wrung out for something as divisive as politics.

Still, if there are those who really want to put a finger on something, anything, by way of an answer to whether or not there is indeed a Catholic vote, one need not go very far. The very last political exercise, the presidential elections of 2016, may very well serve as the closest thing to an answer to the question.

Just days before that election, the then president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, came out with a scathing attack against a presidential candidate who, while unnamed, every Juan, Pedro, and Pablo in this country knew to be none other than Rodrigo Duterte.

The attack came thinly disguised as a pastoral letter, giving the impression the cushion came later as an afterthought. Anyway, Villegas came riding on his high horse, emboldened no doubt by the fact that many of the things he said were, it has to be admitted, closer to the truth than anyone had ever successfully come.

But there is no Catholic vote. Villegas misappropriated his marbles and placed all of them on the wrong bet. He misjudged his position in the dominant national religion vis-a-vis the command factor he thought it invoked and entailed. Alas how puny and how human he thought his position to be. How unChrist-like in fact to soil his high office with the dirt of politics.

As everyone knows, if we are to dwell on the Catholicity or not of the Philippine vote, Rodrigo Duterte, a baptized Christian who talks often like a pagan, not only completely repudiated Villegas, he totally demolished any expectation of a Catholic vote. If at all, given the stats, it was overwhelmingly on his side. But yes, let's put it to rest. There is no Catholic vote, as it should be. jerrytundag@yahoo.com

CATHOLIC VOTE
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