Thursday, April 15, 2010
Candidates I'm Supporting
I am supporting the candidacy of eight leaders from our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) who are vying for local political positions, as town councilors, for three southern municipalities of Occidental Mindoro. From the Good Shepherd Parish in Magsaysay Conchita Soriano, Eddie Wagan, Ben Arroza, Gorio Rosete and Geraldine Mendez. All of them are endorsed by the BECs from the Good Shepherd Parish in Magsaysay. They are known as “Swarm” in their locality, the group’s acronym. Among the aspirants are Rogelio “Boy” Fallorina and Jose “Joe” Vidal from Saint Joseph Parish in Brgy. Central of San Jose town, likewise Noel Callanta from St. Peter Parish in Rizal. They are members of their respective Parish Pastoral Councils (PPCs) assigned as lay ministers and community leaders. Eddie Wagan is a Mangyan leader from Brgy. Purnaga in Magsaysay. Though they filed their Certificate of Candidacy (COCs) as independent candidates, they call themselves “Lakas ng Pamayanang Kristiyano” (Christian Communities’ Power).
The role of the church as a hierarchy is indeed to hold up moral values and not to provide specific blueprint for translating those values into political choices. Pope Benedict XVI in his trip to Brazil said, “The church is the advocate of justice and of the poor, precisely because she does not identify with politicians nor with partisan interests,” Benedict continued. “Only by remaining independent can she teach the criteria and inalienable values, guide consciences and offer a life choice that goes beyond political sphere.” Clerics and religious are prohibited to join (partisan) political activity but not the laity like you and me. Like those candidates I just mentioned above.
In times like this, the church calls on the laity to take its prophetic role for change and nation building for change is the call of the time and different social forces are moving to effect the changes they perceive are necessary. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in their pastoral letter last July 2009, called for the lay participation in politics and peace. According to the Filipino bishops : “ …indeed our present situation poses a great and urgent challenge for active lay participation in principled partisan politics.” In one of the Vatican II document it is stated : “Those (laity) with the talent and noble art of politics … should prepare themselves for it, and forgetting their own convenience and material interests, they should engage in partisan political activity” (Gaudium Et Spes, 75). Because politics, being a human activity, has a religious and moral dimension which Christianity cannot ignore. In short, as faith and life cannot be separated from each other. Same true with politics and religion. How we live mirrors our convictions and our convictions should guide our every action. Our political role is key for the evangelization of society.
Yes, I openly campaign for these honorable men and women of Occidental Mindoro. To campaign for them, personally for me, is a Christian obligation. The church,- especially the laity, must be involved in politics. Karl Barth, a Swiss theologian once said : “the Church ceases to be the Church if it shrinks the political problems of the time. All this requires a completely new attitude towards the relationship of religion with politics… As for the saying that religion and politics do not mix, Church critics are overlooking the fact that the Gospels are full of accounts of Jesus’ ministry, championing the poor and standing up for the rights of the underpriviledged and marginalized in the community. This cannot be characterized in any way a being apolitical.” What can you say about it?
Remember their names : Conchita Soriano, Eddie Wagan, Ben Arroza, Gorio Rosete and Geraldine Mendez (Magsaysay); Boy Fallorina and Joe Vidal (San Jose) and Noel Callanta (Rizal).
Good luck to all of you…
(Photo from www.jewish.com)