Bishops ban posters, rallies in church premises
Catholic dioceses have issued directives against the posting of political posters in church premises and prohibiting priests from engaging in politics.
A day before the election campaign period kicks off on Tuesday, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos and Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona said they were banning political posters from church premises in their dioceses.
“We have a pastoral directive that there will be no political [posters] in church patios and fences,” Santos said.
“It is prohibited to post any candidate’s or political party’s political advertisement [on] church property, [as well as to hold] political rallies in church premises,” read Tirona’s letter to priests in his diocese.
Santos said church people who work for political candidates must take a leave of absence.
“A political candidate will also not be allowed to [participate in] offertory processions,” he added.
Tirona prohibited priests from holding mass weddings, baptisms and confirmations under the sponsorship of any political candidate or party.
He said priests could not solicit donations from political candidates or parties for church renovation or other projects that may compromise the nonpartisanship of the Church.
Tirona also asked the priests in his diocese to launch and sustain a parish prayer for a peaceful and honest election until the Sunday after the May elections.
Santos said his diocese would hold a march for peace on Feb. 16.
“Political incumbents and candidates, clergy and religious groups, police and civic associations will walk, pray and attend the 8 a.m. Mass and sign a peace covenant for honest, clean and peaceful elections,” he said. —Tina G. Santos
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