In Bulacan, faithful told to vote based on conscience

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CITY OF MALOLOS—Catholic Church leaders in Bulacan have advised their parishioners to heed their conscience when they vote on May 13, and not join the bandwagon and wage war against senators branded as members of either “Team Patay” or “Team Buhay.”

Fr. Dars Cabral, head of the social communications commission of the Malolos diocese, told a news conference that the diocese would allow devotees to independently choose their candidates for senators and local officials on May 13, regardless of whether these candidates advocated or opposed the reproductive health (RH) law.

Team Patay refers to pro-RH senatorial candidates while Team Buhay refers to anti-RH candidates.

Cabral said one of the proposed Church policy modifications was to allow Church laymen to take the lead in debating or advocating issues, instead of priests.

“We leave it to the laymen and not the Church to stand on issues, [heeding the constitutional provision on the] separation of Church and State,” Cabral said.

“That has been the stand of the Church before, which we maintain today. The Church only speaks on controversial issues that [impact on] the moral conscience of the people,” Cabral said.

For example, if a law bans people from going to Church, “that law takes away our right to religion and it is beholden upon the Church to react,” he said.

“There will be modifications in our policies and definitely these [involve] the RH law. We need to remind our laymen that they should not side with either Team Patay or Team Buhay because senatorial candidates [who make up pro-RH and anti-RH] are being served by the Catholic Church,” Cabral said.

“Are those candidates of Team Patay not members of the Catholic Church? They are Christians like us, so we should not compel devotees to choose one side and forget the other,” he said. Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon

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