Bishops to issue pastoral statement on 2022 elections

January 26, 2022 - 5:04 PM
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File photo of ballots for elections. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

The upcoming local and national elections and the crafting of a pastoral statement will be among the top agenda items when Catholic bishops gather online in plenary assembly this week.

Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the meeting will bring speakers from a range of sectors to discuss election issues.

“The discussion aims to gather points and ideas that can be included in the statement,” Pantin said.

According to him, the initial plan is to release the document by early February.

The virtual meeting will be presided by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, who just assumed the CBCP presidency last December.

David will be assisted by Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, the CBCP’s new vice president.

This will be the third time that the plenary assembly will be held online because of mass gathering restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pantin also said that another item of the meeting is on the need to strengthen environment and climate actions.

Discussions on the topic, he added, will be led by the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP), also known as Caritas Philippines.

The plenary assembly, which is the highest decision-making body of the country’s Catholic Church leaders, meets in regular session twice a year in January and July. The bishops’ permanent council acts on decisions on behalf of the CBCP when the plenary is not in session.

Currently, the CBCP is composed of 86 active bishops, two priest administrators, and 41 honorary members who are retired bishops.