A Pastoral Letter
of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
on the Ratification of the 1986 Constitution of the Philippines
Beloved People of God:
Our country is undoubtedly at the crossroads of its history. As a people we are searching for peace, and looking for directions to raise up from our situation of instability and poverty.
Not too long ago we asked you to follow and pray for the work of the Constitutional Commission appointed to draft a new Constitution for our country. The new draft Constitution was finished on October 15, 1986. Recent events have since shown how important for the stability of our country’s political situation the ratification of this Constitution is.
We are aware of the imperfections of the draft Constitution. Therefore we realize that some will reject the draft while others will approve it. Many, at this point in time, may not have made yet their decision. Whatever decision is made by an individual, we urge that it be on the basis of an informed and formed conscience. We respect the freedom of the individual conscience.
The formation of conscience will require study and consultation. For this reason it is our moral duty to study well, to discuss, and to pray over the draft Constitution.
As pastors it is our duty to help in the formation of conscience of the Christian people. For this reason, we have studied and discussed the draft Constitution in its historical context and have arrived at a collegial decision.
We have read the draft’s many pro-life, pro-poor, pro Filipino provisions that are consonant with authentic human values. But as pastors, we look beyond these human values and see them in the light of faith. We have come to the conclusion that the provisions of the new draft Constitution are consistent with the teachings of the Gospel.
Therefore, we make known to you what we arrived at collectively as pastors. We opt for the ratification of the 1986 draft Constitution. We express this stand, moreover, to assist you in the formation of your own conscience.
At this historical moment, many forces are striving mightily to destabilize what we have gained dramatically in February 1986. We believe that this new Constitution will provide a firm basis for governance, a clear direction for national renewal and development, and a covenant towards peace.
Cast your vote in the coming February 2 plebiscite so that you will have a hand in building the structure for peace which is the Constitution.
May Jesus, our Eucharistic King, and Mary his Mother, bless us all and continue to assist us in our common effort of forging our covenant towards peace.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
(Sgd.)+RICARDO J. CARDINAL VIDAL
Archbishop of Cebu
November 21, 1986
City of Manila
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