Church’s role-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
MUCH has been said about what the Church would do in the May elections in the face of its setback over the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill into law. It is obvious that the Church was hurt in that encounter, and the worry is that its leaders would hit back at the politicians who “betrayed” the Church’s cause.
As it appears now, Catholic Church leaders seem to be mature and realistic enough to accept the outcome of the RH issue. In fact, Catholic lay leaders are reportedly given leeway by Church leaders in picking the candidates they want to support. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said that, “As a rule, lay persons should be discerning and reflective (of their decisions).” He said the Catholic faithful must look into a candidate’s life.
Frankly, I think that the Church must not be negative in the coming elections. It must play the role of an arbiter on the Filipino voters’ selection of the candidates they should support. The Church must be matured and not “vengeful” like the “tarpaulin” campaign in Negros that classified the diocese’s choices into “Buhay” and “Patay.”
What makes a candidate qualify to be in the “Buhay” line-up, and what makes another go to the “Patay” list?
I think it is unfair and unkind for a Christian, much more so a Catholic, to make such tacit choices without qualifying the decision with infallible proof or proofs to make the choice stand against keen scrutiny. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is said to have frowned on this action of the Bacolod diocese, saying that this amounts to premature campaigning.
Well, I think, it is better to leave it to the Comelec to do its job. While I feel that the Church there may not have considered what it did as a violation of election rules, although it does sound quite out of turn for the diocese to indulge in a rather childish act, still I believe it is really not bad for the Comelec to sue the diocese, as the political watchdog is said to be planning to do, and as what was reported in this daily. Perhaps, a reprimand might just do.
But the point here is that it is the role of the Church to keep the flow of the election campaign smooth and clean regardless of how much beating and pain the Church received in its loss of the RH bill challenge. The loss really should not make it vengeful and not make it go after the candidates who openly voted against the Church’s stand.
Many of those who supported the RH bill were Christians or Catholics, too, who believe that it does no harm to control our population.
The RH vote results should not be made a rueful reason for political vindictiveness.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2013.