Vote as Jesus would, prelate advises faithful


Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas ( photo)

MANILA, Philippines—Warning that the Catholic Church would “always end up the loser” if it engaged in partisan politics, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged Church leaders to avoid endorsing specific candidates.

In a pastoral letter to the faithful in his diocese on the coming elections, Villegas said endorsing candidates would “compromise” the Church’s spiritual mission, adding that the Church “must guide and not dictate,” and help unite society instead of causing more divisions.

“When the Church endorses candidates in political elections she always ends up a loser. The endorsed candidate may win the votes but the Church never wins with him,” said Villegas.

He said candidates the Church may endorse might win “but [then] religion has been reduced to a political party.”

“Religion has been used for political gain and our spiritual mission has been compromised. We will be lonesome widows after the elections for marrying partisan politics during the campaign,” he said.

“If Jesus would vote, for whom would he vote? Vote like Jesus. If you cannot find Jesus from among the candidates, just make sure you do not make Judas or Barabbas win. If you sell your vote, you sell something sacred, you make yourself a cousin of Judas, too,” he said.

Several dioceses and Catholic groups, including the influential El Shaddai charismatic movement, have endorsed candidates in the May elections, particularly those who opposed the reproductive health (RH) law.

But Villegas, who has also been critical of the RH law, said the Church must pray and not add to the confusion of electoral politics and provide healing instead of causing more hurt.

“The Church must refuse to play with the fire of political power or it risks burning herself. The Church does not win when her endorsed candidate wins. The Church should not be perceived as winning or losing an election. The Church must be beyond such,” said Villegas.

“Paraphrasing the Lord in the Garden of Agony, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Religions that waltz with politics will die by politics,” he said.

Villegas said the Church would “win” only if it helps ensure the elections would be peaceful and honest.

“When elections are morally credible and losers and winners stay civil and courteous, the Church wins,” Villegas said.

“When every vote is cast from conscience and not from convenience, the Church has truly become the former of conscience and has shown herself to be a mother and teacher faithful and obedient to her Master and Lord,” he said.

“Candidates and voters are children of the Church. Candidates against one another are brothers and sisters in God,” he added.

But while he said the Church should not endorse specific candidates, it could recommend whom not to vote for.

Villegas said the Church should remain the “conscience” of society and speak out prophetically against abuses.

He urged Catholics not to vote for candidates who cannot declare a categorical and clear no to divorce, abortion, euthanasia, total birth control and homosexual marriages, or candidates linked to illegal drugs.

Villegas said voters should also avoid candidates who had been convicted and those who support black sand mining or tolerate irresponsible quarrying and illegal fish pens.

“Nature is our mother. If you can rape your own mother, what else will you do?” the archbishop said.

He said candidates with no track record of helping the poor or those who give away money and use goons should also be shunned.

Villegas also urged Catholics to avoid candidates who show off their religiosity during elections but are actually antagonistic to Church teachings.

“Corruption and hypocrisy are twins. [Avoid also] the candidate [who] is unfaithful to his or her spouse and children. Corruption begins at home,” he said.

Villegas urged voters to avoid candidates who have other members of their immediate family already in government.

“Promoting family welfare and promoting the common good cannot mix. We submit these guidelines to you and plead with you to bring them to prayer,” he said.

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  • Lucky Luciano

    Caesar unto Caesar

  • Islander

    Churchman vs. Churchman.

    Bishop Villegas vs. whoever put up that politicking campaign poster in Bacolod Cathedral.

  • 2rey3

    A Catholic is free to leave the Church and more, in not following Church teachings and vice versa using his conscience. he or she is to be judged by God based on his acts and will. The issue is faithfulness and understanding the issues. Is murder not condemned in the bible like when Cain murdered Abel? Abortion is murder right? Did Jesus not declare that divorce is against God’s will even if Moses allowed it due to the hardheadedness of the Jews? Sodom and Gommora were destroyed by God due to promiscuity and unnatural sex acts engaged by their inhabitants, right? Now the Catholic only encourages the Faithful not to vote pro choices candidates and WHY WOULD SOME CATHOLICS AND NON CATHOLICS COMPLAIN WHEN WHAT SHE ADMONISHES IS VERY MUCH IN ACCORDANCE TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH??? Some people are just unfair!!

    • Michael Mallari

      true.. true.. sadly.. those who says they have librated minds.. are those that have close mind for eartly things… tila wala ng takot at walang kaluluwa…. kawawa naman.. =(

    • panhase

      How come you are talking about abortion? Why is it that conservative Catholics do have an obsession for abortion? And when did Jesus declare that divorce is against God´s will? (If you want to answer the last question, please not an interpretation made by men but Jesus´s words)

  • g g

    jesus said:
    Give to God that is due to God and to Caesar that is due to Caesar.
    … Jesus did not want to meddle with politics. So shouldn’t we. Our faith is to dictate how we should live our lives; not to dictate on others how to live theirs. There would be no need to worry about contraceptions if only the catholics would observe on their promiscuity. Alas they are ignorant hence the many poor with multiple children. Would God forbid educating them?

    • Michael Mallari

      True.. true… and issue about pre-marital sex…. about gay marriage, abortion, sepaeration is not GOVERMENT issue.. IT IS MORE OF MORAL ISSUE… Bakit nga ba mahirap ang PINAS??? anong problema… simple lang po ang sagot.. kasi po, where into midst of moral vacuum.. at ating pag-papasya ay base na lamang sa kung ano ang alam nating tama… HINDI kung ano ang UTOS ng DIYOS…. naging mas marunong pa tayo kesa sa DIYOS.. kaya ayan, laganap ang corruption, rape… murder…sige pa.. RH bill pa…. yan ang umpisa sa lalung pagbaba ng moralidad ng mga pinoy tungo sa kabiguan spirtual… =(

      • panhase

        “moral vacuum” , Yes you said it right. After 500 years of Catholicism in this country all that is left is a “moral vacuum”.

  • boybakal

    Vote as Jesus would, prelate advises faithful….Never read in the bible that Jesus voted.
    He was not voted either but voted to death.

  • Simplify1

    Yan ang tamang Pari kung magsalita…. by process of elimination ang siguraduhing wag iboto si nancy binay, JV estrada and Jackie Enrile….

    • Michael Mallari

      Hindi ba po puede na unahin HUWAG IBOTO si BAM AQUINO??? Sino nga po ba yung campaign manager ni Gloria nuon????? bakit tahimik na tahimik po ata ang taong bayan sa usaping ito???

      • Simplify1

        baka ibig mong pahiwatig na si BAM ang campaign manager ni GMA noon? Kaya tahimik ang taong bayan sa usaping eto kasi hindi totoo! Official role lang ni Bam 2001 to 2003 as head ng NYC… hindi lang si BAM ang may gusto kay GMA noon, pati na karamihan ng taong bayan. Simula noong nag silabasan na ang totoong kabahuan ni GMA nag simula na rin na nabawasan at nagsitiwalagan ang mga kampi ni GMA sa kanya. Kungdi sa ZTE Scandal, hello garci scandal, north luzon express way scandal, fertilizer scandals at iba pa dapat maganda pa rin ang pangalan ni GMA….

    • nes911

      High five ako dyan.

    • Reynaldo

      wanna bet, may pari sa norte ang mag e indorso kay kay Jacky Enrile. Alam mo na If the Price is right. baka sa sermon mismo sabihin.

  • Wowie P

    OMG! after following the bishop’s suggested process of elimination, wala nang natirang kandidato na karapat dapat iboto!

  • gyros

    “If you cannot find Jesus from among the candidates, just make sure you do not make Judas or Barabbas win”…i do not even see Jesus in any of the Priests in the Philippines…when i look at priests i see hypocrites and opportunists…opinion ko lang

    • $26606290

      Wow you’ve been around….to see and know them all. Lahat talaga ha.

  • padre_damaso

    Vote as santa claus would. because he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good. hohoho

    • nes911

      High five ako dyan

  • Hey_Dudes

    O tignan mo itong si ipokrito pati si Jesus isinasama sa kasinungalingan niya. This is the same Socrates Villegas, who, at the height of EDSA III (Erap’s protest vs GMA) ordered police and soldiers to close EDSA shrine so the people he called “untooth, unwashed and mobs” will not seek refuge in it. The same Socrates Villegas who ordered the former late NBI undersecretary and ISAFP agent out of the Makati seminary as GMA ordered him to. Hypocrite of the highest order.

  • TotoyKalentong

    Mga saserdote nagpahamak kay Hesus. Ang mga dapat na alagad ng Diyos ang nagsabwatan upang dakpin at ipako siya sa krus.

  • nes911

    Just stop politicking and let the people decide among themselves. No need for church guidance.

  • TheHappyAgnostic

    jesus never voted. he is apolitical

  • divictes

    Sorry, but Jesus missed the registration deadline. Cannot vote.

  • hustlergalore

    vote as jesus would?!?!?!

    lokohin niyo ang lolo niyong hari ng vatican, mga bulaang propeta!


  • kokak

    “Vote as jesus would”. Interesting.

    If Jesus is again in flesh today and roaming among us, what could he be doing? Who will he vote for?

    But first how whould he look like? My bet is that he would NOT look like one of those priests garbed in golden robes; nor one of those pastors travelling in limousines and staying in air-conditioned rooms. He will appear as humble as before though not necessarily born in a sabsaban. You get the point?

    What could he be doing? My bet is that he will be lambasting the conservative priests, like what he did when he lambasted the Pharisees for strict obedience to tradition that does not benefit the people. He will question the present day church authorities that became so powerful after two thousand years. The Church has became so powerful it will not recognize a lowly-looking man from whom the Church existence was supposed to be founded.

    Who will the modern-day Jesus vote for? Sorry to disappoint our high priests, but my bet is that Jesus will vote for progress and NOT for conservatism.

  • QritiQ

    Jesus has chosen fishermen over the wealthy and the powerful. Let’s take a second look on the Independents and unknowns and not be blinded by the wealthy and powerful politicos. It is worth the effort i am sure.

  • mangtom

    Would Jesus vote for the candidate who gave Him the most expensive SUV? Tanong ito sa CBCP.

  • virgoyap

    Archbishop Villegas has a very good point. Yes, the Church has everything to lose if she endorses specific names of candidates. Aside that she will create animosities among her members it will also defeat its purpose of uniting its people.

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