Priests told: Avoid sorties, stop celebrating Mass in campaigns

ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The head of the Catholic Church in Manila is warning priests against joining political sorties and celebrating Mass at political events and campaigns.

In a CBCPNews report, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said the move is necessary to safeguard the non-partisan stance of the Church and the sacredness of the sacraments.

“The Eucharist is the source and sign of unity. Its celebration should not be seen as favoring or endorsing particular candidates, organizations or parties,” Cardinal Tagle said in a circular to the clergy.

Cardinal Tagle urged the clergy to "be more discerning" in seeking assistance or favors from politicians "so as not to endanger the integrity" of the Church’s teachings and moral stance.

“It is best to avoid appearing in public political sorties and campaigns while not discouraging politicians and candidates from seeking genuine spiritual counsel,” he added.

"This instance should be done in utmost privacy."

He also called on priests not to allow candidates to organize mass baptisms, mass confirmations, and mass weddings.

As spiritual guides, the cardinal said priests are ministers of unity and harmony and should avoid certain practices that may trigger discord and misunderstanding in the community.

He also reminded the clergy of the archdiocese’s standing policy that lay liturgical ministers must be suspended from publicly carrying out their religious duties when they run for public office.

In October, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma prohibited politicians from using the church as a campaign venue and making speeches during Masses.

He also urged his priests to avoid having photos taken with the candidates to avoid being accused of partisanship.