MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/18 February) – The faithful should vote in the May 13 polls based on “discernment” and not on who the clergy may tell them to choose, Malaybalay Bishop Jose A. Cabantan told MindaNews Monday.
Cabantan said that consistent with earlier pastoral letters, the diocese has encouraged its members to form “circles of discernment” and agree to a platform of governance that will be the basis in choosing candidates.
He said church members may endorse or choose candidates that commit to adhere to such platform.
“It is important to think both of faith and the 2013 elections to ‘evangelize politics’,” Cabantan said at the opening Monday of the three-day 43rd Diocesan Pastoral Assembly in this city.
The annual assembly gathered around 600 participants. It carried the theme “Katolikong Pagtoo: Sination, Saulogon, Saksihan, ug Sangyawan ang Uban” (Catholic Faith: Discern, Celebrate, Witness, and Spread to others).
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo is expected to give a talk on Alay Kapwa, the church’s Lenten evangelization program and the national political situation.
Cabantan said the focus of the assembly was timely as 2013 is the Year of Faith in the Catholic Church which coincides with an election year.
But the bishop said the discernment should come from the people, not the clergy.
He said they preferred circles or groups of discernment as the venues in choosing candidates to support.
He emphasized they are against members of the clergy who dictate on the people’s choice or actually seek elective posts.
“That’s what exactly we are trying to avoid, that’s why we prefer for circles or groups to do it,” he said.
He added the Church should “capacitate” and guide the people in discernment.
During focus group discussions organized by community-based news service Bukidnon News, participants said it (guiding the people in discernment) should be carried out by the Parish Pastoral Coordinating Councils. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)