Priests see more politicians going to church as poll draws near

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01:33 AM October 5th, 2012

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By: Julie Alipala, Orlando Dinoy, October 5th, 2012 01:33 AM

DIGOS CITY—Ignoring the Third Commandment, politicians go to church, claim to have received God’s mandate, and proceed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file their certificates of candidacy (COCs).

The Church knows it’s hypocrisy, but it does not discourage the politicians. Besides it’s only once in three years that churches get SRO attendance during weekdays, never mind that the warm bodies are politicians and their followers who go to church only during election time.

The triennial explosion of zeal began Monday with the opening of the candidates’ registration for national and local offices in next year’s midterm elections.

In Digos City for example, politicians, including former Davao del Sur Rep. Claude Bautista, who is running for governor, heard Mass at the Mary Mediatrix Cathedral on Wednesday before proceeding to either the Comelec provincial office or its city election offices to file their COCs.

Fr. Santos Villahermosa, vicar general of the Diocese of Digos, said the Church could not stop politicians from entering churches or attending Mass before filing their COCs because there was nothing wrong with that.

Villahermosa said only the politicians knew their real intentions in attending Mass or entering churches.

Publicity

He said he could not tell if the politicians were really seeking divine guidance or just putting up a show to gain more support, especially from Catholics.

“I would not know if they were seeking God’s help or were just trying to [gain] publicity. We cannot judge them,” Villahermosa said.

In Zamboanga City, Msgr. Cris Manogas, officer in charge of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga and administrator of the Metropolitan Cathedral, said it was up to the candidates if they wanted to start their political careers by hearing Mass.

Hypocrisy

“You know we feel good when we start a day with prayers. It energizes us. I know most of our candidates here are prayerful,” Manogas said.

For candidates who only go to church when they file their COCs, although he said he knew of no one in the city, Manogas said the clergy did “not want to pass judgment.”

“We don’t judge their hypocrisy,” he said. “If they use the church [they will answer to God for it]. Besides the people know who are really prayerful and those who are not.”

In the 2010 election, Manogas said some politicians sought the guidance of clergymen like him.

“A couple of political aspirants approached me for guidance, but I told them it was they who would face the people and be accountable for what they would say and promise,” he said.

Originally posted at 09:00 pm | Thursday, October 04, 2012

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