Catholic Church and politics?

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

From the past till now, candidates have been openly endorsed by this/that religious leader/organization, right?  The Iglesia Ni Cristo bloc voting is well-known/written up about.

How many candidates have you read about being endorsed by religious leaders and church groups during the ongoing campaign for the May 2022 elections?

Yet when the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) issued a pastoral letter during the anniversary of the February 1986 People power, loud protests came especially from the camp of the dictator’s son.

They demanded that the Catholic Church not meddle and not use the pulpit for politics. Why is it okay for other churches and religious leaders to meddle in politics/endorse candidates?  Why is it not okay for the Catholic Church to be involved in politics?

The CBCP pastoral letter stated: “In this letter, we favor none but the truth. We wish to warn you of the radical distortions in the history of Martial Law and the EDSA People Power Revolution.”

According to CBCP President  Bishop Pablo Virgilio David: “Many Catholic bishops have witnessed the “injustice” and “cruelty” during the dark days of martial law. “And up until now, the human rights abuses, the victims, the corruption, the grave debt and economic downturn of the country due to dictatorship are all well-documented.

Again, we did not make these up. These are all written in our history.”

The Pastoral letter noted that the CBCP is “alarmed by this distortion of the truth of history and the attempt to delete or destroy our collective memory through the seeding of lies and false narratives.

This is dangerous, for it poisons our collective consciousness and destroys the moral foundations of our institutions.”

CBCP then asked all: “let us stand up for truth. Remember: goodness without truth is pretense. Service without truth is manipulation.  There can be no justice without truth. Even charity, without truth, is only sentimentalism. An election or any process that is not based on truth is but a deception and cannot be trusted.”

Pope Francis, in a September 16, 2013 homily, clearly reminded that: “Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.

A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself - so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.  Pray for him, pray for her, that they can govern well, that they can love their people, that they can serve their people, that they can be humble.  A Christian who does not pray for those who govern is not a good Christian! “

For candidates with problems, Pope Francis urged:  “Pray that that person might convert!"

In his March 2019 Christus Vivit, Pope Francis warned that the young are taught to “look down on the past” and only to gaze toward a future, blinded by amnesia, “as if the world were just starting now."

In Christus Vivit, Pope Francis underscored his message during the 2013 World Youth Day: “Please, do not leave it to others to be protagonists of change. You are the ones who hold the future! Through you, the future enters into the world….I ask you to build the future, to work for a better world. Dear young people, please, do not be bystanders in life. Get involved!  Jesus was not a bystander. He got involved.

Don’t stand aloof, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.”

Why then, like Jesus Christ, shouldn’t the whole Catholic Church be actively involved in politics/for truth/for a better world for God/His people?


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