MANILA Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has issued a special prayer for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and his incoming government: to have the wisdom and courage to lead the country to prosperity under a culture of peace, justice and respect for human life.
Tagle came out with the “Oratio Imperata” for government officials over the weekend, which will be recited for nine consecutive days before the assumption into office of Duterte and the other officials on June 30.
The oratio imperata or obligatory prayer is an old Catholic tradition for a special intention, aside from those prescribed by rituals, that the Pope or bishop or a diocese may require to be said during Mass in all parishes.
Part of the prayer states, “Bless our leaders with true reverence for human life and unyielding opposition to the culture of death.”
It adds, “Loving God, look with favor on those who rule withy authority over us. Through your loving hands, may prosperity and progress be achieved, may peace and harmony be assured, may freedom and justice be preserved and may this nation be healed and protected from harm through Christ your Son who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.”
Tagle issued a circular calling on all clergy, superiors of religious communities and heads of secular institutes in the archdiocese of Manila to pray the Oratio Imperata during Masses from June 21 to 29.
Fr. Reginald Malicdem, chancellor of the Manila archdiocese, said the call to prayer is also in accordance with a proposal of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The CBCP and Duterte had clashed on a number of issues, particularly on the incoming leader’s plan to reimpose the death penalty and on extra-judicial killings.
Duterte earlier lashed out at the Catholic Church, branding it as the “most hypocritical” institution.
A week before the presidential elections on May 9, CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas called on Filipino voters to be discerning, warning them against candidates who are morally and politically unstable.
Villegas did not name names but was obviously referring to Duterte, who made fun of Pope Francis during the campaign period.
But after the elections, the CBCP assured Duterte and other elected officials of its full support even as it vowed to continue with its mission to pass moral judgment if needed, including on matters related to politics.
“The greatest promise the Church can offer any government is vigilant collaboration, and that offer, we make now. We will urge our people to work with the government for the good of all, and we shall continue to be vigilant so that ever so often we may speak out to teach and to prophesy, to admonish and to correct — for this is our vocation,” Villegas said.