Church lay leaders running in barangay polls must quit duties — bishop

August 28, 2023 - 11:51 AM
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Ballot boxes are piled up at the Quezon City Hall on August 23, 2023 for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

A Catholic diocese has said that officers and members of any church organization must vacate their positions if they intend to run in the October 30 barangay and youth polls.

In a circular issued on Aug. 10, Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos provided guidelines for this year’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

“All incumbent officers and members of different church organizations who wish to be elected as public officials should file a leave of absence addressed to their respective parish priests,” Villarojo said.

“In failure to do so, they will be automatically resigned from their posts effective upon their filing of certificate of candidacy,” he said.

While the church strongly encourages lay participation in politics, he said they are aware “of the potential for confusion when it comes to exercising power both in the church and in public office”.

“In this regard, we wish to guard our faithful against possible accusations of using the church for partisan exercise,” he explained

The prelate said that individuals who lose in the election may resume their service in the Church, subject to the approval of the parish priest.

The diocese also discouraged the use of any church facilities and affiliations during the campaign, including wearing church organization shirts.

“We hope that our brothers and sisters who seek to be elected as public officials will bring with them the values of Christ in this wonderful venture, prioritizing the common good, justice, peace, with a love of preference for the poor and in the spirit of Christian service,” Villarojo said.