Brothers and sisters in Christ:
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” (Mt. 28:18)
This is the Lord Jesus’ ultimate claim to universal kingship and dominion. These are the words of the Ascended One, gloriously sitting at the right hand of the Father.
We wrote to you before the elections. We write to you once more now that the elections are done.
Several critical, even spiteful, voices have asked us to desist from “interfering” in politics. We cannot. We do not aspire after office and we have sought none. We do not even impose upon the Catholic faithful a set of anointed candidates. But it would be a denial of Christ’s universal lordship were we to desist from reminding his disciples of what fidelity to him—in all things, including political life—demands.
The votes have been cast and are now being counted.
To those who have been voted to office, we assure them of our prayers, principally for wisdom, that they may discern God’s will for his people and courageously do as he bids. God’s hand is to be recognized in the events of history. Credit then your victory, neither to fame nor popularity, but to God who calls you to service and to care for the weakest and the most distressed in our midst. Children need care that cannot be postponed. And many women still find themselves in situations of exploitation. Indigenous peoples remain marginalized and the vaunted growth in the economy still has to mean something significant for Filipinos living outside urban areas.
To those who did not succeed, you, as persons, as sons and daughters of God, are infinitely so much more than the positions after which you aspired. Rather than becoming despondent and discouraged, you should challenge yourselves by asking how it is that the Risen Lord sends you “to make disciples of all nations”. Surely there are so many other ways to contribute to the building of the Kingdom of God. It is for you to discover your paths, in faith and in docility to God’s spirit.
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.
Get up now let us go…
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, May 9, 2016
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan