We’ve seen it online, on TV, read about them in newspapers, heard them on the radio, and even through everyday conversation with friends, family, co-workers, church communities or random people.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that this election season is more polarizing than ever. So polarizing, in fact, that the Catholic Church in the Philippines is not spared even a bit.
- We’ve heard of some of the prelate bluntly telling you who to vote, or who not to vote.
- We’ve heard some people in their respective church communities challenge each other.
- We’ve one way or another witnessed those who dare say that voting for a specific candidate makes you less of a Catholic, or worst, not at all.
Which makes me wonder, when have we gone to such a point as Catholics?
The Church, as our mother and guide, clearly urges us to actively participate and exercise our right to suffrage, to utilize our free will in these instances, to activate our conscience, to discern, to observe, but most of all – letting it be an act of charity to our countrymen.
That last point is the highlight of it all: ‘the right to suffrage is an act of Christian charity to our countrymen’ – This charitable act encompasses careful discernment, healthy discussion and utmost prudence. We vote because we desire change.
#CleanVotePH Voters’ Forum last April 16, brought to you by the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, YouthPinoy, Areopagus Communications and San Sebastian Graduate School of Law.
There is no single individual among us who does not hope for change. The Church is one with us in this desire for change. But the means to change equally calls for us to do our part. Yet it seems it has gone otherwise, candidate or voter alike.
- Change does not come from mudslinging.
- Change does not come from political nitpicking.
- Change does not come from condemnation.
- Change does not come from character assassination.
- Change does not come from misinformation.
- Change does not come from rumor-mongering.
These truths also allows us to see the reality of the situation.
The reality is that our conscience is never perfect. Our choice of candidate is never perfect. Our own votes are never perfect. We are never perfect in this life. Yet, change is possible.
- CHANGE COMES WHEN WE PLACE GOD ABOVE ALL OUR ACTIONS.
- CHANGE COMES WHEN WE ENTRUST TO GOD OUR DISCERNMENT.
- CHANGE COMES WHEN WE LET GOD BE THE SOURCE, MEANS, AND END OF OUR VOTE.
- CHANGE COMES WHEN WE TAKE ACTION, AND ENTRUST THIS ACTION TO GOD.
- CHANGE IS, AS OUR LORD MENTIONS IN THE GOSPEL, TO “LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
It may seem difficult to find God with such a tall order in our desire for change and in the election process. It may perhaps be easier to resort to what we have gotten used to doing, to employ and utilize the same means over and over, to push a personal agenda, or to utilize discrediting means to push our choice of candidate forward.
Yet, I believe, WE CAN FIND GOD IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS.
- We ought to pray.
- We ought to pray first.
- We ought to pray more.
Before anything and everything, we ought to pray first, and to continually pray. Prayer is about seeking God’s grace to strengthen our conscience, to grant us the means to discern well our choice of candidates, to exercise utmost prudence in our dealings with other people, online or face to face.
Prayer is, ultimately, entrusting to God our vote, the results, and our future. We entrust our discernment, our conscience, our actions, and everything to God. We let God take charge!
You and I can discern so much as we practice our right for suffrage, but at the end of the day, we must entrust our votes to God. May our votes be the right vote, and that we invoke His mercy if we could not, in our limits and imperfections, seem to completely see the whole picture, the whole plan, as we choose the best and most qualified candidate for our country. (Jan Richmond Tieng / CBCPNews)