Friday, April 30, 2010

On the matter of endorsing political candidates


Related cbcpnews item here: ‘Mainstream’ CFC will not endorse candidates

In this memo CFC merely clarifies its stand to remain non-partisan, to avoid confusing its position with that of the breakaway group who insists on using the CFC name in some form. From a prerogative point of view, it is acceptable for a Catholic lay organization to either support or refrain from supporting particular candidates. As long as it's the official stand of the leadership, I would say it falls under a matter of legitimate prerogative. Of course if there is a particular endorsement, it goes without saying that it should never carry any element of coercion to its members. Endorsement or no endorsement, the bottom line is that in the final reckoning, it is still the individual's conscientious choice that must be respected. In the contentious matter of selecting the best political candidate, reasonable people can come to different conclusions.

The matter is different though, when we talk of an official endorsement coming from the Catholic clergy. The danger lies when such an endorsement is perceived to represent an official Church stand that the faithful must follow. To my knowledge, there is no allowance in the Church's principles for political partisan endorsements. The Church as a matter of principle avoids endorsing particular candidates for public office, as the matter of voter's choice rests upon contingent and controvertible matters that are beyond the scope of certainty as it relates to the articles of faith. It is the role of the Church however, to issue moral guidelines for arriving at a conscientious choice in line with Catholic teaching.

Here are some profitable readings along the line.

DOCTRINAL NOTE on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life

- A document released in 2002 by the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, headed by then Cardinal Ratzinger. An interesting portion of the document talks about "moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation". Thus we infer that that voting for persons who unquestionably hold such adverse positions goes against a conscientious Catholic choice.
A Catechism on Family and Life for the 2010 Elections

- The voters guide released by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, which is rather heavy in its admonition against voting for candidates who promote contraceptives. Coincidentally, when the document was released last December 27, 2009, all the popular leading presidential candidates changed their tune and withdrew their support for the RH-bill. Interesting coincidence.
Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

- A good explanation by Catholic Answers on the Five Non-Negotiable Issues
Abortion Is the Black Hole of Moral Issues

- A great explanation by Jimmy Akin in his featured article for Catholic Answers, explaining Cardinal Ratzinger’s "Proportionate Reasons".
Voters Guide, NOT!

- And lastly, a Voters Guide for the Not-so-Serious Catholics

10 days to go and I am still undecided. Sigh.


sunnyday said...

Haha!! How nice to know that at least 1 other non-cafeteria Catholic is still undecided. I assume you're referring to the presidency...?

I'm praying to discern which of 2 candidates I will put my faith in. But one thing's for sure -- I will vote with no "calculation" (which seems to guide many nowadays, many of them well-meaning), such as "we will vote for this so that doesn't win...if we vote for this, it will divide the vote..." Basta I will be sincere with myself and with God when I cast my vote. While considering "winnability" does make perfect sense, it seems to indicate a lack of integrity, faith and simplicity.

The comforting thing is, I would be okay if my 2nd-choice-for-now happens to win over my 1st-choice-for-now. BASTA HUWAG LANG YELLOW VOTE!!!!!!!

WillyJ said...

yes, I am referring to the presidency. I like the yellow guy, but not enough to get my vote. I will disregard the surveys and vote as I see fit. Whoever wins, God works in mysterious ways.

aeisiel said...

Hi Willy, too bad I already cast my vote before I saw this


WillyJ said...

Yes the CBCP matrix was useful from an informational perspective. Unfortunately it also gave the message that it was an endorsement, because it gave the impression of a "ranking". I thought many of those matrix items are "negotiables" anyway, except the rejection of the RH-bill.

Was there a large turnout of OFWs?

aeisiel said...

Hi Willy,

It's the sign of the times; the turn out of voters here in Hong Kong is definitely massive and larger compare to the last Presidential Election.

And not to my surprise Eddie Villanueva got a big chunk of the votes as Hong Kong is a haven of a lot of "Full-Gospel" churches and born-again congregations :)