15 April 2013

Campaign for "Moral" Teachings?

Catholic Vote
The powerful Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said it had decided to target suspect politicians in mid-term elections in May, when thousands of posts from the local village level to congress will be contested.

In a statement released to the public following their annual plenary, the bishops said they would demand politicians publicly voice their views on critical social issues, ranging from same-sex marriage and divorce to contraceptives and corruption.

This is well and good, but how about priests who are engage in subversive activities, political meddling and receiving gifts for priestly favours? Who will be tasked to scrutinize these pretenders to the faith without anybody trying to cover up their misdeeds from public eye?

Another question is what if a candidate expresses his or her opinion and they totally run against the Church teachings? Can they do these in forums organize by CBCP without getting any reprisal in the form of denial of communion?

More than 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics, a legacy of over 300 years of Spanish rule that ended in the late 1800s, and the church has long believed that they enjoyed strong political influence, although the recent passage of the Reproductive Health Act will disprove that.

The church helped lead peaceful uprisings that removed two corrupt presidents, Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.

However CBCP president Archbishop Jose Palma conceded the church may be starting to lose some of its influence.

"We are tossed about by the waves of the secularist spirit, which continues to reduce the role and place of religious faith in the public sphere," Palma said.

"Our cherished moral and spiritual values are at grave risk."

In this light, the church plans to step up its efforts to pressure politicians during the election campaign. Nothing wrong there, but it should be made clear that there have been no Catholic block voting in the last couple elections and I doubt there ever will be one.