DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 May) – Bishop Romulo dela Cruz has issued a pastoral statement expressing support to “our layleaders’ decision to seek the election of those candidates who are closest to the Catholic and Christian ideals of leadership.”
“We hope the public declaration of our lay leaders’ choices will result in more votes cast this coming election, will stand of God, for life and for family and environment,” the bishop said.
Dela Cruz noted that on April 8, the priests of the Diocese of Kidapawan and he met and agreed to come out with a pastoral statement clarifying their position on the so- called “Catholic Vote” which has since been re-named by lay organizers as Solidarity Vote Movement (SVM).
The pastoral letter, dated May 5, will be read in the parishes on the two Sundays before the May 13 polls – May 5 and 12. The letter is written in English and Cebuano.
The bishop said lay leaders in the Diocese, like their counterparts in other parts of the country, are coming up with a list of senatorial candidates and party-list candidates who are “closest to our criteria of being pro – God, pro – Life and pro – Family.”
He cited as examples the Lay Initiative for Elections 2013 or LIFE 2013 in Cebu which has its own list of senatorial and party-list candidates that they are endorsing, the El Shaddai Manila and SVM Manila.
“Those are all lay initiatives, and we as Church leaders have no objections to the efforts that endeavor to provide informative guidance based on Catholic, Christian principles,” the pastoral statement said.
Dela Cruz also said they are happy that the laity “are putting into concrete actions their responsibilities as baptized Christians and members of the Catholic Church.”
He said their efforts at “objectively measuring local and national candidates according to the standards of the Gospel, and the moral principles taught by the Church, together with Filipino values that respect life, family and the environment, deserve not our objection but our endorsement.”
Dela Cruz said the movement can act as an “enabling facility to judge candidates based on objective Christian criteria, not on the often- abused criteria of friendship and relationship with candidates by virtue of blood and affection.”
He said it can also provide the “concrete opportunity to communally examine each incumbent candidate’s record of accomplishments and performance history” and a “concrete way of examining who, among those running for office have and will truly serve the people.”
“Let us always respect each other’s freedom to vote,” the bishop said. (MindaNews)