BACOLOD, May 3, 2016 – “Always pray before you click.”
Adding a twist to a now famous line, a church worker appealed to citizens and netizens alike to be more prayerful and charitable amidst a political campaign period that can only be described as rancorous and hurtful.
“People are becoming too passionate as regards the political candidates they would like to support,” observed Marcela Buenafe, Administration Staff of Bacolod’s Social Action Center, in charge of the recently-formed Diocesan Task Force Eleksyon 2016.
No less than the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President, and Lingayen – Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, in his pastoral appeal to the nation issued on May 1, said: “Many wounds have been inflicted. This is true not only of candidates but also of their supporters. Even close friends have parted ways because of differences in political persuasion and in the choice of candidates to support.”
As a reminder that is ever timely, it can be recalled that as early as 1997 the bishops in the Philippines, in their Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, described “Philippine politics –the way it is practiced- has been most hurtful of us as a people. It is probably the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving full human development.”
‘Instrument of peace’
As the the national and local elections near, Buenafe advised “We should be more careful [with] what we post on the social media, especially our thoughts and our opinions.”
Sharing her personal experience, the church worker admitted that praying the St. Francis prayer “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” every time she goes online has helped her very much, encouraging everyone present to do the same.
Build bridges, peace, harmony
In his message for World Communications Sunday which is observed on the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord, Pope Francis reminded the faithful of the power of communication to build bridges and advised people to ”select their words and actions with care, in the effort to avoid misunderstandings… and to build peace and harmony.”
In the same message, the Holy Father cautioned, “Emails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication… Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division between individuals and groups.”
“The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks,” the Pope warned. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)