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A Pastoral Exhortation
Sacrifice for the People’s Victory

This final week before the elections, our election fever reaches its peak. This final week before the elections, there is no way the Christian can be absolved of his or her duty to choose the best possible candidates for public office – insofar as he or she is able to judge. Each Christian must examine the choices he or she may have already made. Do these choices resonate with our common mission to transform Philippine politics into a politics of genuine service to the people as the Lord wills? Do these choices reflect our common commitment to human life and to humane policies of participative governance guided by the demands of social justice? Do these choices square with the awesome challenges that face the Filipino people in a complex world of globalization? Do these choices give our children – but also ourselves – role models of patriotism and moral integrity to inspire us in our own struggle to love our country and do what is right? The insightful Christian will understand: these are not criteria which are dreamt up only for this one election. But they are also not criteria articulated just to fill paper. They are criteria with a cutting edge. The cutting edge must be used to size up. And to excise.

How does the voter win in this election? One wins not simply by casting a vote for the most probable winner. The most probable winner may be the most probably disastrous for the country, attractive as vice is attractive or popular as ignorance or sin are commonplace. Nor does the voter win by pushing the victory of a candidate who will best advance one’s selfish interests, for selfish interests may lead to the detriment of millions of others. The voter wins in this election only when he or she votes according to conscience, that is, according to the conviction within, after all information and arguments are considered, that this or that candidate is most likely to in public office advance the common good.

Finally, the common good may demand that some qualified candidates themselves withdraw from the race in order that the unqualified may not hold sway. You have fought the good fight, you have kept the faith, you have run the race. But having come so far, you know it may now be time to withdraw. That the country may stride forward, you know you must step backward. In probable defeat, you decide on heroism. Heroically, you defeat self-ambition to enable the genuine victory of the People.

It will be a hectic week. For some, it will be a week of harried activism. For others, it will be a week of painful choice. May the Holy Spirit – the spirit of truth, self-sacrifice and joy – inspire all the decisions that must be made this week. May bread broken disclose the real Presence of the Lord. Through the painful decisions of today, may He work out the joy of our unity of tomorrow.

 

Jaime Cardinal Sin, D.D.
Archbishop of Manila
May 3, 1998.

 

 

 

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Christian Action for Peaceful and Meaningful Elections
Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City
Tel. No. 924-4951 local 3588, Fax No. 924-4442
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