No election bashing of pro-RH lawmakers at the pulpit—CBCP head

Catholic lay groups can campaign, says Archbishop Palma



Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. Photo from

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Legislators who voted for the reproductive health bill in Congress can now heave a sigh of relief, especially if they are living within the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has announced he will not allow the priests and other Church officials under the archdiocese to use the pulpit to campaign against legislators who voted in favor of the RH bill.

The Cebu Archdiocese has at least 140 parishes spread all over Cebu.

Palma told a news conference Wednesday that the Holy Father would not allow them to use the pulpit to campaign for or against anyone during the election.

“That is not bound to happen,” Palma said.

“If you asked me, do you think the bishops could do that? My answer is no. We will never come out with names in the sense of initiating a campaign in the election,” he added.

But Palma explained that if Catholic laity groups would like to campaign against pro-RH legislators, they could do so.

He, however, said the Church could hold reflection seminars for the people before the election, and pray that people would select candidates who could do good to the country.

Morality issues can be tackled at the pulpit because priests should do their job in educating people on morality, he added.

But Palma said he would rather encourage the people to speak up on what they thought of the passage of the bill and how it was done.

“To me, the important consideration should be the sentiments of the people,” Palma said.

With the passage of the RH bill, Palma admitted that he felt saddened by reports that the House of Representatives would take up the divorce bill.

“I feel sad because some people or many of the legislators have the belief that anything they legislate is good and it’s for the good of the country,” said Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

“What’s next? Same sex marriages, abortion, etc.?” Palma added.

Palma said the people should be asked if they were convinced that these pieces of legislation were good for the country.

He said the CBCP had yet to meet so he could not come up an official statement from the CBCP, though he already asked the secretary general to possibly schedule a meeting.

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  • andrew lim

    Catholic laity groups like Catholic Vote Phils will make a mess of themselves when they start identifying and choosing candidates based on only one issue – how Catholic they are. I know they said they will not be advocating whom to vote, but it’s inevitable when you do it this way. By basing it on how they voted on RH, they are in effect supporting specific names.

    It is against pluralism, and will isolate them further. It has also the potential of making them look foolish, since they have to support characters like Mikee Arroyo, Dato Arroyo, GMA, Imelda Marcos, etc.

    If Catholic Vote Phils existed before, then you wouldnt have had FVR, Juan Flavier, Leticia Shahani, Mamintal Tamano, Santanina Rasul, etc.

    In the US, the Catholic Vote supported Mitt Romney because of his anti-RH stand, but that also meant supporting his failed economic agenda and lousy stand on minorities and women. So they lost.

    • Tnosce

      US politics is totally different from Philippine politics by no means no similarity. 

      • Observer_din

        you are definitely right sir, ‘coz in the US the catholic PRIESTS and BISHOPS dont have the guts and balls to bully politicians like in our country.

      • Boo Lahga

        Last time I checked the political structure of USA and PI is the same, isn’t it?

      • buttones

        No- it is not-They are different- a President in US is elected by a majority, in PH it is not the case, in the US a president has a four year term and can be elected for another four if the people so wish- in PH we are stuck with six years whether we like it or not…

      • efriend

        POTUS is elected not by a majority but by the electoral vote.

      • buttones

        Yes I know but it is always a majority- Obama got 322 votes vs. Romney at 206. That is a majority. Obama got about 51% of the popular vote and Romney 49% Obama had the majority…

      • efriend

        The politics is the same.  It is the Catholic Bishops’ approach that is different. 

        Example:  In the City of San Francisco, Catholic parishes annnounce during Sunday Masses parish trips to the Casinos for fund raising activities.  This is unimaginable in the PHL but encouraged not only in SF but the rest of California.

  • barry p

    No Father…let us stop at RH Bill and Divorce.  

    The Philippines is the ONLY country in the world without divorce (The Vatican is essentially not a country).

    And let us not bring out the self-serving hypocritical non-sense about Filipinos being special people, chosen people and that divination crap.  Please, let us not go there.  

    Proclaiming ourselves more righteous than the other 6 billion people on the planet is plain lunacy.

    IF POSSIBLE, if you wish maybe you can push for provisions like making the divorce law inapplicable to Roman Catholic marriages….and leave, respect other Filipinos who are not in your flock or whose marriage was not solemnized by your clergy.

    If any Roman Catholic couple would then want to get married in civil rites and therefore eligible for divorce THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN….BY SHEPHERDING YOUR FLOCK  AND HELPING THEM MAKE DECISIONS APPROPRIATE TO YOUR FAITH.

    BUT ABSOLUTELY no to abortion….no to same sex marriage.I cannot even imagine this ever happening as I’m pretty sure all religious groups from A to Z will be unanimous on this.

    • Mark Velasco

      Yes to same-sex marriage! Hindi porket sinabi ng mga relihiyon na bawal, bawal na. Why believe in gods who are punishing and unloving? Why stop loving people from getting married? The God I know and believe loves His creations, regardless of gender. 

    • efriend

      Yes to Death Penalty.  Yes to Same-Sex Marriage.

  • cogito728sum

    I like this bishop Palma.  He’s good at ‘palusot’.  While abandoning direct interference in legislative work from the pulpit, he’d like to encourage the people to do it for him.  As if by holding ‘reflection seminars before elections’, he changes the image of the church meddling in political processes.  As if he can fool the people that by doing so he’s but, to use a proverbial concept, changing from wolf to sheep’s clothing in the pursuit of the same objective.

    What is interesting here folks is that while one bishop threatens candidates who defy the church’s wishes in the coming elections, another one covers up for such ridiculous blunder to protect the reputation of the church.  This is understandable but also reveals the fact that if there can be no unity among these men of the cloth, how can they unite a divided society because of their failure to do their job?  These bishops would do well to adjust their thinking to modernity instead of their persistent
    adherence to medieval practices.  And talking of modernity, isn’t it interesting to note that these
    bishops’ ‘primus inter pares’, the Pope, is reported to have a twitter account? I wonder, without being sacriligious, if he’s using it to communicate with the big Honcho up above.  Good luck folks and thank you!

  • efriend

    There is no such thing as a Catholic vote.  There is such a thing as Catholic pressure, harassment, or intimidation.

  • Ben Baltazar

    “But Palma explained that if Catholic laity groups would like to campaign against pro-RH legislators, they could do so.”
      – so in short, let the lay do your dirty work. I don’t see how the impropriety of bashing by bishops at the pulpit shouldn’t apply to lay people who derive their authority to proselytize from the same source as bishops. Hypocrisy at its finest!

    • Jane Tan

      I agree… He started out so well, but you could actually feel the change in the message he was delivering. Sad.

  • Kevin Christian

    sus. teach morality daw -_- di nyo nga maturuan yung mga pari nyo na bawal ang PEDOPILYA. Rapist pa yung iba, my my. I wonder why they are all so narrow minded. They’re using their God’s name for their own profit and for their own convinience. Di na nahiya, they’re just doing whatever they deem is right, di man lang nila tignan yung bigger picture, di man lang nila iconsider kung ano yung gusto ng masa. Totally ridiculous, revolting, priests and bishops, you make me sick, you make this country look bad, you make Filipinos look bad, you make Catholics look bad, and the worst part is that YOU MAKE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE LOOK BAD, even persuading them to aid your ridiculous ideals, and threatening those who are against you, you’re a FVCKING DISGRACE! If you’re going to continue to act like that, then PLEASE BY ALL MEANS GO KILL YOURSELVES, for the benefit of this country.

    • napali808

      I hear you, bro. I’m a catholic and I’m embarrass. Disgraceful to say the least.

  • Joel_Delano

    What do you think will happen if the pulpit will be used to bash the congressmen who voted yes for the RH Bill?  Does the Congressmen will just take it lightly? They might have a whole Congressional District transferring to other religious sect?  So what will happen to the Roman Catholic Church in that district? Just asking? Cause I am a Roman Catholic who is a bit annoyed on how the priests and bishops run the affairs of the Roman Catholic Churche.  Just take a count of how many are leaving from your flock. Wake Up!

  • buttones

    I’ve always found it odd, that the clergy of Rome, who never marry, who never have children [doh!] who know nothing about the real relationships between men, women, parenthood and the rest, claim to know so much , I find that simply amazing- I mean where did they get their experience from – books? I have read books on Everest and the Himalayas, but have never been up them, this hardly makes me an expert……

  • filipinaskoh

    Just stay away from POLITICS, that’s the best you can do. Just teach what is necessary to your flocks like morality, faithfulness and truthfulness.

    Any bill that  both chambers will pass as a law, no matter how degrading they may be, nothing surpass a well disciplined flocks.

  • quirinomayer

    Damaso Palma is beginning to sense that the CBCP will be further humiliated if they campaign against pro-RH candidates. The next that would happen here is for him to tell the entire CBCP to follow suit to save their faces from another volley of eggs.

    What I am waiting for now is the decision of the Supreme Court declaring the RH Bill is constitutional.

    And likewise the passage of the Divorce Law. 

  • panhase

    This is the country of the Filipino people, of all Filipinos.
    Not the country of the Bishops, not the country of the Catholic Church, not the country of the Vatican.
    So you can have your say about our politics as a private citizen but not as a religious leader.
    And specially you do not have any right to interfere in our politics as a leader of a religious group.

  • Guest

    Just do it like this: Kapatiran gets its referendum law. Then RH and divorce both are subject to referenda.

    If Palma’s CBCP lost in both cases, then they will have no choice but retreat to their spiritual duties if the Church doesn’t want to follow the path of the Irish branch of the Roman Catholic Church. 

    • El_Gran_Capitan

      The problem with Catholic Church hierarchy today is that there is no one comparable to the late CARDINAL SIN, whose moral ascendancy was beyond question. The current crops of bishops and archbishop is that since GMA time, they always bet on the wrong side of history. If a bishop will asked for a 4×4 SUV as a birthday gift from someone with questionable character, what kind of signal it want to communicate?

      • napali808

        The signal the bishop wants this corrupt politicians to know is that he’s open for business and saying ” I could do it “.

      • El_Gran_Capitan

        Yes, but catholic church themselves are corrupt, are you ignoring facts when they asked almost beggingly to GMA

  • John_Galt_II

    Wala naman naniniwala sa ugok na to! Ayaw tumigil sa pag epal!

  • Paliwaweng

    Bishop Palma, stop your pious lies. Your church billions of investment in BPI, Philex, and San Miguel Corp. and big acres of lands grabbed known as the friar lands came from the people. Tax free. Instead of bashing the government on her stand on RH Bill, shut up and mind your own business. You owe a big gratitude from the government and the Filipino people. 
    Your church has a present worth of more than 17 billion pesos with majority of you flocks living below poverty. 
    Bishop Palma, is this love and charity?

    • Mark Velasco

      This statement is so true! 

  • Ramon S

    Now Padre Damaso’s,team showing their color from Spanish era up present all allies of VATICAN
    the same tactics want to control both politics and religion.. hindi na nagsawa noon at ngayon na halos lahat lupa at malalaking  school, hospital at mga printing press pag aari nila sa BOUNG PILIPINAS… kaya mahihirarapan ang Pinas makabangon sa economy BAKIT????? Dahil lahat ng CASH money ay pumupunta lahat sa VATICAN bank itinatago walang bumabalik sa pinas WALA PANG TAX HALOS LAHAT NG BUSINESS NILA isa ito sa dahilan nag hihirap pinas. control govt. people at business from spanish era present.

  • Jef

    CBCP is just only a representative or a leader of the catholic church pero di nila kapanalig ang mga tao with regards to the job of the state para pangalagaan ang peace in order at iangat ang kabuhayan. 

  • napali808

    The bishops are losing their credibility and respect every time they open their mouth, which is located in their behind. They think they’re infallible, because they have this twisted perception that they’re the voice of God. Maybe.. after falling flat on their face they may act more human and have some humility and compassion.

  • Paliwaweng

    With the Roman Catholic Church (Philippines) present worth of more than 17 billion pesos, almost all coming tax-free, you can earn endearment from millions of Filipinos and they might vote you as a ‘ living saint’ if you will use that big amount of money to subsidize all students from all catholic universities and the people living in quagmire of poverty.
    Your Catholic schools are among the most expensive learning institutions where only the rich can afford.
    And your Catholic Hospitals are also intended for the moneyed class.

    Instead of interfering in our government affairs, better do as you preach. Feed the hungry by creating a store mainly for the marginalized, help the poor by giving them free education like the University of the Philippines. You can easily do that kasi wala kayong deficit, walang utang. If the government can subsidize UP and other state universities, despite her ballooning credit, you can do the same.
    But what you are doing is totally the opposite of what you preach.

    • josefe38


  • Joseph Gerald

    o cmon, same sex marriages, abortion? excuses. excuses. Pinoys know better than these. We are actually doing the divorce, coated and minted as “annulment”.  So why not legalize it.

    • Justice Law

      Kala kasi nila “anal-meant”

  • Darwin

    Biglang kambyo A M P O T A.

  • OFW Reader

    Few more ignorant fools are still listening to these people but sorry more enlightened Filipinos are   emerging. Going to holy mass nowadays are worthless because you will not hear anything good on the mouths of these false prophets. They keep on poisoning our minds and meddling in our daily lives. Anyways, you can say whatever you like and we will do whatever we want with our own lives.

  • OFW Reader

    They are talking about morality but they keep cuddling evil doers like child molesters, sex maniac, gamblers, etc… These evil doers are the priests themselves. So why listen to them?

  • Alex

    because they know the consequences of doing so… the candidate they campaign against gets the boost, and leaves them looking foolish.

  • Kamatis Tomato

    It is a business decision. The biggest contributors to the church are those buying their places in heaven. Who else but the corrupt politicians. 

  • dickenhead

    what is good for CBCP is good for the country? how arrogant can one be!

  • ajca82

    “But Palma explained that if Catholic laity groups would like to campaign against pro-RH legislators, they could do so.”

    I sense a subtle suggestion here *wink wink

  • simondj

    1 Corinthians 6 -15 to 20: Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two shall become one flesh.”  But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but sexual immorality is a sin against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 

  • bgcorg

    I don’t think the Church would be messing in politics if she uses the pulpit to guide the faithful more intensely this time to vote wisely.  Laymen have a mission to do the same by virtue of their baptism.  We need God-fearing people in government, who are guided by “certain” conscience” formed by right Christian principles that include respect for life, marriage and the family and godliness. We have to watch and pray.

  • $31701260

    the Concern Catholics will make a list for the faithful Catholics… abangan..

    • Karma

       “Concerned Catholics”?.. Particularly on what matters are they concerned?..

      • josefe38

        Concern sila sa katangahan mo? ha  ha  ha  ha  ha 

      • AgnosticLeader

        they are concern on the collection. it’s business as usual

      • Edgardo Mendoza

        concern sila sa kung paano mapapadami mga batang hubo! sa kalye at mga desperado!! pag tatago ng buwis” sa gobyerno!!

  • Ding

    That’s much better, for the church to educate the people on morality.   This will definitely touch on the family being the basic unit in our social life…it will touch on the role of the father, the mother, and every child in the family…and even the grandparents.  By so doing, the people will be more receptive on how divorces, same sex marriages, legalizing marijuana, etc.,, etc.,, will affect our morals and daily lives, ending up on their determining the actions they have to take on these issus, without the church necessarily restraining their movements. Guide the people…do not battery-operate or push-button the people as to how and where to move.

    Pangit ang dating ng isa pang news headline sa araw na ito — BISHOP WARNS ROXAS CHURCH WILL MAKE HIM PAY IN 2016 — for supporting the RH bill.  That’s vengeance, isn’t it, that Catholic followers know the Faith does not condone? What was more harmful was that known defenders of Catholic faith here on PDI posts, including myself, got disappointed, habang pinagtatawanan tayo ng mga dirty politicians na nanatiling nakatago sa kanilang lungga tungkol sa stand nila sa RH bill, for they were so smart to know that doing othewise would jeopardize their political ambitions.

    So, it will be much better for the Church to remain counsellors, educators, guides, but never dictators…the country is THE ONLY CHRISTIAN NATION IN ASIA, and it is because of Catholic believers…and we will remain loyal Catholic believers, hoping and praying that the Catholic leadership knows how to keep it that way.

  • Edgardo Mendoza



    thats a better step ,it really does pain my family to hear politics from priest.

  • marciano3rd

    We are no longer under the Spanish era wherein the father Damaso’s had great influence on government affairs. Wake up!

  • Hein S

    ERAP said “there is no catholic Boat.”

  • Edgardo Mendoza


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