Priest to candidates: Put God in politics

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Candidates for elective positions in Tacloban City recite their vow for Peaceful Elections before signing the covenant. (Photo: Eileen Ballesteros)

TACLOBAN City, Feb. 24, 2016 – As government and the Church come together to work for free, orderly, peaceful, and credible elections, a priest remind candidates to put the divine back into the political arena.

In a Mass held at the iconic Sto. Niño Parish Church, Fr. Oscar Lorenzo called on those running for public office to “put God in the context of our political exercise.”

The Mass, attended by mayoralty and council candidates, commenced the Peace Covenant Signing organized by the City Commission on Elections (Comelec) office.

Lorenzo, who concelebrated the Mass with main presider Fr. Ronel Taboso, discouraged them to go on with the attitude called “split-level Christianity”, saying this is what leads some politicians to say one thing but do something else.

Corruption in gov’t

The priest said, this attitude of split-level Christianity also explains why corruption persists in the Philippines in spite of the people’s high sense of religiosity.

He recalled how Pope Francis lauded the Filipinos’ faith as reflected in the colossal attendance of Filipinos at the International Eucharistic Congress.

This was, however, at odds with the bleak news about the Ombudsman’s findings of high a incidence of corruption in government.

Serving the people, Lorenzo said, is a cross which elected officials should bear with fear of God.

Citing a Biblical story, he reminded the candidates who may later be elected to always remember that serving their constituents is serving God’s people and not “their people.”

According to Lorenzo, the peace pact which the candidates signed is not an ordinary contract over things but one involving the entire person and the whole nation as the case may be.

“It is a covenant with God,” he stressed.

City Prosecutor Ruperto Golong, vice-chairman of the City Board of Canvassers for about eight elections now, talked about the need for the people to thank God.

“As [we] move for a credible, honest and orderly election, let us all thank God for this opportunity to serve and take part in the elections,” he said.

Unified effort

Fr. Elmo Manching, speaking on behalf of Palo Archbishop John Du and the PPCRV, assured the candidates and voters of their unified vision with the rest of the electorate to promote the CHAMP (clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful) election advocacy.

The PPCRV, he further assured, will be closely monitoring the procedure and processes in this coming elections in line with PPCRV’s call for CHAMP elections.

Manching reminded the Catholic electorate to constantly recite the Special Prayer for the Coming Elections, which the PPCRV national headquarter formulated.

“We need to pray especially now that we are entering a more challenging part of this electoral process,” he said before leading the congregation in reciting the special prayer in Waray version.

This Waray version of the special prayers for this election can be downloaded from the Archdiocese of Palo Social Action Commission Facebook page. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)

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