Bishop’s appeal: Ash Wednesday not candidates’ photo op
As millions of Catholics flock to churches today to have their foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, a top official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to candidates in May’s midterm elections not to use Ash Wednesday to win votes.
“This is a temptation to candidates as it provides an opportunity to be seen entering the church to show that they are pro-God. People vote for those whom they believe are pro-God,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action.
Gariguez said some candidates had used religious occasions for “photo opportunities” in the past.
“Don’t get ashes on your forehead if you are only after photo opportunities. If that is what’s on your mind, you are being a hypocrite,” he said.
Gariguez said the cross of ashes was a reminder to everyone to seek forgiveness and repent for their sins.
“It also reminds us that everything is temporary and you are accountable to God for everything you do. You are dust and to dust you will return no matter how rich or powerful you are,” he added.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Manila archbishop, urged the faithful to “travel light” as they enter the season of Lent, which he said was “a journey with Jesus” who showed his love for God and for the faithful “until the end.”
Traveling light means sharing what people have with the poor through acts of justice and charity, Tagle said.
“Let us take care of our health, our hungry neighbors and creation by restraining our appetite through fasting. Let us cast on the Lord our burdens in the spirit of faith and hope through prayer,” he said.
“Alms giving, fasting and prayer will help us leave behind unnecessary bags and baggage on our Lenten journey with Jesus,” Tagle said.
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