The Political Moralism of Some Catholic Bishops and Priests: A Postmodern Evaluation

Social Ethics Society Journal of Applied Philosophy 8 (Special Issue):186-212 (2022)
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Abstract

The Catholic Church never officially endorses political candidates but rather respects the freedom of its faithful to vote according to the dictates of their conscience. However, in the last presidential elections, some Catholic bishops and priests in the Philippines publicly and openly supported the presidential candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo while urging the rest of the faithful to do the same. These bishops and priests anchored their position on their shared belief that voting for Robredo was the only rightful and moral option because of her clean track record, non-involvement in any act of corruption, and principled approach in governance. In contrast, her political archnemesis Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. had long been embroiled in several allegations of corruption, non-payment of taxes, and fakery of educational attainments. Hence, for these bishops and priests, voting for Marcos Jr. was both wrong and immoral. And yet, the election results hit them with a big “slap in the face,” as more than 31 million Filipinos (majority of whom are Catholics) cast their votes for Marcos Jr., while only 15 million voted for Robredo. This outcome, no doubt, raises the question: Why did the repeated calls of these bishops and priests go unheeded? In this paper, I will attempt to answer this question by subjecting the political moralism of these Catholic leaders to some objective postmodern evaluation. To do this, I will employ the postmodern thoughts of Nietzsche, Lyotard, and Rorty as a lens to examine why many Filipino Catholics today no longer buy the political moralism of their religious leaders.

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Alexis Deodato Itao
Cebu Normal University

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