President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is willing “to collaborate, cooperate closely with the Church,” according to Archbishop Charles Brown, papal nuncio to the Philippines, in a radio interview.
“We had a very productive, encouraging, and positive discussion,” Archbishop Brown told Radio Veritas 846 in an interview on Monday, June 13.
The ambassador met with Marcos on Friday, June 10.
He said Marcos “assured me of his desire to collaborate, cooperate closely with the Church and Holy See.”
Archbishop Brown joined ambassadors from other European countries who paid their courtesies to the president-elect on Friday.
Local Catholic Church groups earlier expressed their willingness to engage in “principled cooperation” with the incoming administration of Marcos.
In a statement on May 26, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said “it will exercise principled cooperation” with Marcos.
“As such, we will support all [Marcos] administration’s programs that will respect the rights and dignity of the Filipino people,” read the organization’s statement.
The Council of the Laity of the Philippines (Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas) also called on the faithful to support the position of Caritas Philippines.
“Aligned with the statement of Caritas Philippines, the laity and all peace-loving Filipinos should exercise ‘principled cooperation’ with the government,” said Raymond Daniel Cruz Jr., president of Laiko.
Cruz said that “with the many ‘unfinished businesses’ in connection with the recent electoral exercise, we are called not to be at the waiting mode.”
He urged everyone to “pro-actively engage our constituents” — local Churches, Catholic educational institutions and civil society — and “address the ‘foundational footings’ which has been shaken and weakened through the years.”
The head of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communication of the bishops’ conference, however, said the outcome of the May 9 elections is “a slap in the face” of the country’s Church leaders.
Several Catholic Church leaders openly supported the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo, calling her the “moral choice,” against Marcos.
A report in the Manila Times quoted Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit of Boac asking “whether we have lost our voice as the hierarchy of the Church.”
“What happened to our voice? Is it because we’re not that credible anymore, and sometimes it’s very hard and very painful to ask that question, but credibility when it’s a moral choice is based on your own moral ascendancy,” he said.
The prelate said that another possible explanation why the Catholic Church failed to convince the faithful into making the moral choice is that its hierarchy may already be “disconnected with our people.”
Bishop Maralit then said that the results of the election is a “slap in the face to wake [the Church hierarchy] up to the reality that we should be really re-thinking about.”
“Maybe we still have the morality and the moral ascendancy but our message does not reach the people… maybe we are not speaking the same language,” he said.
“Maybe we have already failed them by not listening to them,” he added.
“The election is just a phase of what our people were already telling us. It’s really hard to give your message when the person is already disconnected and I think that is another question that we have to ask.”
The Church must accept the challenge “to be instruments of not bringing out the message but bringing in the message to the church from the people,” he added.