HomeCommentaryIs the Church being neutral by being non-partisan?

Is the Church being neutral by being non-partisan?

Right now, the Church should continue forming consciences for a mature political exercise but leave the endorsement to the lay faithful

I guess people have to understand that being NON-PARTISAN is NOT the same as being NEUTRAL.

In the battle against evil, injustice, lies, etc., the Church has always been brave in expressing her stand — she is against evil, she is NOT neutral.

But being NON-PARTISAN means her loyalty is neither with the candidate nor with any political party. It is with the people. She should always be for the people.

Many are muddling this distinction and are using the Church to advance their agenda, to get the institution to support their candidate.

It is hypocritical to say that their candidate is the only best hope for the people. I say, let the people decide who to them is the best after being guided, formed and informed through a series of discernment.

Political alliances are fleeting. Elections will pass, but how some Church people behave politically right now will have repercussions in the Church later.

Pope Benedict, in his speech to the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2007, said, “If the Church were to start transforming herself into a directly political subject, she would do less, not more, for the poor and for justice, because she would lose her independence and her moral authority, identifying herself with a single political path and with debatable partisan positions.”

- Newsletter -

Our loyalty lies in the institution that calls us to a life of service.

We should never allow ourselves to be used as tools for partisan politics.

Our personal choice doesn’t make us political tools, specially, if we keep them privately.

Our very own bishops and lay leaders pronounced in the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), no. 340, “The Church’s competence in passing moral judgment even in matters political has been traditionally interpreted as pertaining to the clergy. Negatively put, the clergy can teach moral doctrines covering politics but cannot actively involve themselves in partisan politics. In practice, religious men and women are also included in this prohibition.”

Right now, the Church should continue forming consciences for a mature political exercise but leave the endorsement to the lay faithful.

To be neither NEUTRAL nor PARTISAN, my principle is clear; no to incompetent, unjust and self-serving politicians. No to thieves and liars too!

Father Jerome Secillano is executive secretary of the committee on public affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

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