Praying for the elections
A group of Catholic lay people has come up with a list of candidates, national and local, for Monday’s elections. This list, according to them, is a result of their prayerful and honest discernment guided by Gospel values and the spirit of unity. Going over the list, one may be surprised at their choice of candidates. How could some of them have ever passed their set criteria? Aren’t there other better candidates who could have been included in their list? The list is not a perfect one, according to them, but the best they could come up with at the moment. In any case, we have to commend these Catholics for their initiative to come up with such a list following a faith-inspired process! They are simply exercising their role to witness their faith in the world of politics.
If Catholic lay people are permitted to come up with a list of candidates and to publicly disseminate it, it’s a different story with the Catholic clergy. In the political process, they have to be non-partisan! Church law prohibits Catholic bishops and priests to engage in partisan politics. The reason is that, as shepherds of the local church, the diocese or the parish, they are the point of unity for their flock that comes from varied, even contradicting, political persuasions. This does not mean, of course, that the Catholic clergy may not utter moral judgments on political issues. It is precisely their role to guide their flock on matters of faith and morals in the context of concrete circumstances, be they political, social, economic or cultural.
The Catholic clergy, in their role as shepherds, can assure all candidates, exempting no one, of their spiritual support. They will pray and work that God’s will, will be accomplished in their life, because it is His will alone that will bring out the good in them and make them truly happy. Winning or losing in the election is not the essential matter! For those who would commit anomalies in the elections, they will pray for their conversion, leaving the rest to God’s justice. If in case bad candidates win, we have to trust in God who ultimately triumphs over evil.
All of us, the laity and the clergy, have to pray for the elections! We pray that throughout the Philippines tomorrow and the days after, there may be peace and order. We pray for all those little people working so hard behind the scene, the teachers, poll watchers, police, and officials in the electoral process. We pray for the safety of all voters, candidates, and their supporters. We will offer the Holy Mass for our nation on election day. For those who find time, it would be good to drop by a church and spend a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, praying for these intentions, or to say a rosary for the day. As a nation under God, we need Him in this important political process of our country.
May 13 also happens to be the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and so we seek Mary’s prayers for our nation. We are a nation “in love with Mary!” Praying for the elections, besides casting our votes, is an act of love for the country.