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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

When clerics become false prophets

Rock & Refuge

That’s when clerics get into partisan politics. They clearly would not be following the teaching and example of Christ who, even if he knew the shenanigans in the political world of his time, did not make any definitive stand on a specific political issue.

That’s because, I suppose, Christ knew he would be adding unnecessary division among the people if he would get into partisan politics. Politics is such a complicated area where things can never be black and white, totally right or totally wrong. It’s always grey, since the issues involved are matters of opinion and preferences that can give rise to a variety of different and even conflicting positions of the people.

The mixture of good and evil in politics, benefits and dangers are so intertwined that to separate one from the other would practically be impossible and most likely be more harmful than helpful.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Christ talked about the parable of the wheat and the weeds. (cfr. Mt 13,24-30) It would not be wise and prudent, according to the lesson of that parable, to uproot the weeds at the moment since the wheat may also be uprooted. We just have to wait for the harvest, the final reckoning, when the due separation can be made.

In the meantime, we just have to be patient, even as we also should try to purify and clarify things, but done always in a Christian spirit, that is, with charity and cordiality, with willingness to suffer the consequences of evil, without bitterness, anger and the impulse for revenge. Evil should always be countered by good, and never by another evil dressed up as something good.

I don’t know if those clerics involved in partisan politics realize this. It’s very unsettling to see them abuse the power of their office, the charms of whatever God-given talents they have, to twist, distort, undermine and violate the teachings and example of Christ to rationalize their interference in partisan politics. To me, it would constitute as an act of treachery at its worst.

It’s spine-chilling to hear them rationalize their position by saying that they are exercising their prophetic office. The prophets of old may have been sent by God to warn kings, emperors and other civil leaders and politicians of their time. There was good reason for that, given how things were at that time.

But we are now in the Christian era. We have to follow the teaching and example of Christ that purifies and perfects how things were done in the pre-Christian era. Of course, everyone, including clerics, can have and can freely express his personal opinions regarding a specific political issue, but this should always be done with cordiality and with due respect to the other views and positions of other people.

We can disagree in many issues. We are not expected to agree in all of them. What is important is that whether we agree or disagree, charity is always maintained and even strengthened. That is the beauty of these differences and conflicts among ourselves — they can provoke a more meaningful charity and sense of unity.

It’s also spine-chilling to hear clerics link real sanctity with getting involved in partisan politics where legitimate differences and conflicts on opinable matters are not supposed to be allowed.

It’s very disturbing to see them give the impression that they are disparaging the spiritual and supernatural means of prayer, sacrifices, etc. to give a higher importance to organizing rallies and demonstrations, public and noisy denunciations, etc. They may not say it openly, but people are not born yesterday. People know what these clerics have in mind.

We have to pray for all our clerics that they, me included, be true ministers of Christ who only speak of Christ and faithfully channel him in all our words and deeds.*

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