Obey conscience, prelate urges voters
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday appealed to Filipinos not to waste their votes but to seek genuine change.
“Let us not waste this blessing…participation in forging the destiny of our country. What a blessing to be able to participate…What a blessing but what a responsibility,” said Tagle in a post on CBCPNews, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
He said it was because of the “blessing” of democracy that the voice of the people is heard.
The prelate also reiterated the Church’s position not to endorse any candidate as a way of showing respect for the capacity of every citizen to choose their leaders.
He said the Church believes voters should be given the freedom to choose their candidates based on their conscience.
“We don’t want to preach participation, at the same time, curtail the people’s capacity to participate intellectually, rationally and with conscience,” said Tagle.
“As we vote, we participate by choosing people who will represent our dreams, our desires, our destiny. We should elect people who can be representatives of the country,” he added.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, called on the faithful to pray the rosary for the coming elections.
“We pray for light in choosing our leaders,” said Villegas. “Let us all join in prayer that leaders who are faithful to God’s commandments will be elected.”
Meanwhile, the religious leaders of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) urged the electorate to vote for peace.
“Voting for peace means choosing candidates who will work for a just and enduring peace. We ask the electorate to deeply discern from among the candidates in order to make an informed choice, if they are truly working for peace. Let us choose candidates who view public service as a means to work for the greater good for our people and not to enrich oneself through the public coffers,” the group said.
Signing the statement were Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD, PEPP cochair; Bishop Noel A. Pantoja, national president, Philippine Council of Evangelical Bishops; Fr. Rex B. Reyes Jr., National Council of Churches in the Philippines general secretary; Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez Jr., DD, PEPP head of secretariat and cochair of the EBF, and Sr. Mary John M. Mananzan, OSB, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines-Women.
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