Editorial: Catholics not only vote, they rule

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LIPA Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who is also the vice chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has urged the faithful to use the “Catholic vote” in choosing their leaders in the 2013 elections.

But first, he should have been clear on the definition of “Catholic vote.”

Did he mean by that phrase the vote registered by a baptized Catholic, with or without the dictates of the Catholic Church as represented by the CBCP? Or was he referring to a more specific vote, one that is counted only if it hews to the CBCP stance on various issues?


Definition is important considering that Arguelles is urging the faithful to use the “Catholic vote” next year. Because if by “Catholic vote” he means the second definition, then the CBCP itself must clearly name the candidates the faithful should vote for (a-la Iglesia ni Cristo) and not merely use criteria that are nebulous as voter’s guide.

Even then, that definition of “Catholic vote” actually muddles the reality of the first definition. The point is, ever since elections were institutionalized in this country, Catholics have dictated their outcome. This is because majority of voters in this country are Catholics. Don’t we use “predominantly Catholic” to refer to the Philippines?

It would be hypocritical, then, for the Catholic clergy to disown whatever decisions Catholic voters have been making during elections through the decades and not claim these as “Catholic vote.” The truth is, the real “Catholic vote” is the one made by majority of Catholics during every election—-whether priests and bishops like that “vote” or not.

When a Catholic goes to the voting precinct, he brings with him whatever Catholic Church teachings he imbibed growing up. He does not go to the voting precinct as a pagan. Whatever decision he arrives at as a voter is partly a reflection of the level he has reached as a Catholic.

It is wrong for Arguelles, therefore, to talk about “Catholic vote” like it isn’t the engine that runs this country’s elections already. All of our leaders past and present have been chosen by Catholics.

What Arguelles and the bishops should rather focus on is assess how this “Catholic vote” has been used through the years. Because in the final analysis, whatever is happening to this country’s politics proves how deep or shallow the Catholic clergy’s evangelization work in this country has been.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 27, 2012.


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