“Choose wise, discerning and experienced people” (Dt. 1, 13)
“The Church values the democratic system.” (Centesimus Annus, 46) These words of Pope John Paul II inspire this letter, which we, your shepherds, write to you as the national elections of 2007 draw near. We seek only one thing: to apply the values of the Gospel to our electoral process.
Elections in a democracy allow citizens to choose freely those who will govern them and be instruments of a better life and a more just society for all. These coming elections in May 2007 are especially important. Many of our current political problems, which have hindered fuller economic development and social justice, especially for the poor, can be traced to unresolved questions concerning the conduct of past elections. As a nation, we cannot afford yet another controversial electoral exercise that further aggravates social distrust and hopelessness.
In these two years past, we are only too aware, it has become easier to succumb to apathy and hopelessness about our country and its political life. But as followers of the crucified and risen Lord, we are called never to lose the hope that creates energy and the love that creates responsibility.
Therefore, this time, we are determined that we come together once more and organize ourselves more effectively than we have done in the past to make this year’s elections credible and as free of violence as possible.
This means that every parish organization and institution and the BECs most especially be mobilized to the utmost to do what each can do towards that end. This means too that they must form linkages with one another and with other like-minded civic and religious associations that are working to help clean the dirt from our easily corrupted electoral process.
The Lord of truth and justice be with us all in this crucial undertaking to his greater praise and glory. And may Mary, Our Lady of Peace, intercede for us.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
28 January 2007
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