The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Phils. (CBCP) made official its move to support the candidates to be endorsed by the Pilipino Movement for Transformational Leadership (PMTL) which claimed to have a conservative count of 10 million voters nationwide.
The move of the Catholic bishops is viewed as a positive move in the quest to have the so-called “Christian vote” in the coming elections. PMTL is composed of lay organizations in the Catholic, Protestant, Baptist and Born Again Christian churches, among others nationwide.
CBCP President, Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the bishops voted to issue a message of “commendation and praise” to PMTL during the 11th plenary assembly of the CBCP held in Cebu City last Jan. 22-24 this year.Â Â PMTL which guidelines to the voters is placed under the “Gabay Kristo” is a community of lay faithful from various Christian churches who have come together to engage in the work of God in the field of politics.
Joey Abellana, national president of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen & Professionals (BCBP) who arrived here Friday said the CBCP support will be circularized to all PMTL lay organizations this week.Â He said the participating organizations, including the BCBP, is still on the process of doing an on-line voting of the short list of 15 senators, three vice presidential bets and two presidentiables. The final list will have 8 senators endorsed to be voted upon by its members.
Endorsed for president in the “People’s Primary” which is the on-line voting are Grace Poe and Mar Roxas while Leni Robredo, Jesus Zosimo Paredes and Teodulo Malangen were endorsed for vice president.
Abellana expressed elation on the CBCP move as it encouraged the Catholic bishops to “organize on the diocesan level lay, leaders who can bring to fulfillment the vision of God-centered, honest, competent, committed, strong willed servant leaders for the country.” This support can be realized once the Diocesan Councils of the Laity nationwide will support the “Gabay Kristo” shortlist.
As the group presented the programs and vision for Christ-centered political engagement, the Catholic bishops recalled the challenging words of the Second Vatican Council inÂ Gaudium et Spes:
“This council exhorts Christians, as citizens of two cities, to strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit. They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come, think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities. For they are forgetting that by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties, each according to his proper vocation. Nor, on the contrary, are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and in the discharge of certain moral obligations, and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life. This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age. . . .Â The Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbor and even God, and jeopardizes his eternal salvation.Â (GS 43).
In citing the PMTL, the bishops said the Pilipino Movement for Transformational Leadership is a significant gift of the Spirit to our Catholic laity inspired by the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI who taught usÂ that â€œthere is a need for authentically Christian politicians but, even more so, for lay faithful who witness to Christ and the Gospel in the civil and political communityâ€¦Christian membership in faith-related associations, ecclesial movements and new communities can provide a good school for these disciples and witnesses, sustained by the charismatic, communitarian, educational and missionary resources of these groups.Â (Address on May 21, 2010).
Archbishop Villegas expressed in prayers the hope for the work of God to fulfill the conversion, transformation and renewal of politics in the Philippines.Â (Peter Dejaresco)