The Catholic bishops’ leadership has vowed “conscientious engagement” with the government but it can’t turn a blind eye on corruption and human rights abuses, an official said.
Its public affairs chief, Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista, said that collaboration is important for the nation’s growth but the Church must adhere to its Christian values of “truth, peace, and love”.
The Church, according to him, will actively support the government “provided moral principles are not compromised”.
“We will also remain vigilant and critical to all forms of corruption, mishandling of public funds and violations of human rights,” Evangelista said.
“Tensions only arise when we do not fulfil what we ought to do according to God’s will such as when we do not respect human life; violate human rights; and greedily think of personal convenience instead of seeking for the common good,” he said.
The bishop made the statement early this week during the inaugural gathering in Manila of more than 40 diocesan public affairs ministers.
Organized by the Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), the national convention reflected on the theme, “Church and State collaboration and conscientious engagement in serving the nation”.
Among the speakers include Bishop Teodoro Bacani, who discussed the rationale of the public affairs ministry in the teachings of the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, ECPA executive secretary, stressed that “the mission of public affairs is evangelization” and its goal “is the development of our people including the progress of our nation”.
“It is far from what critics always accuse the church of, that she is anti-government and anti-politician or worse, an enemy of the State,” Secillano said.
“It is hoped that the church’s noble objective of evangelizing the public sphere would bring great strides in making our country great again,” he added.
Evangelista also said the convention is a reminder that “the doors of our hearts are constantly open for dialogue because the secret to building a strong society and a better future for a nation is dialogue carried out in the spirit of discernment and humility.”
He also expressed hope that more dioceses will establish a public affairs office “to promote the common good and the Gospel values in our society”.