MASS INTENTIONS. Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes has asked the priests and religious to stop reading intentions offered by political candidates during the masses effective Saturday (April 2, 2022). He said this is to avoid being used as a political campaign venue by "means of advertising and name recall". (Photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete on Friday called on parish priests to stop the reading of mass intentions of political candidates in the May 9 elections to prevent the use of the church as a campaign advertising venue.
“It has come to my attention that during this time, when elections are fast approaching, local candidates offer mass intentions in the effect that their names are announced repeatedly,” he said in his letter to the clergy.
Cortes went on to say that this “apparently (is) a means of advertising and name recall”.
The prelate told the Philippine News Agency that his decision comes following a meeting with the diocese’s circle of discernment last Wednesday.
Effective April 2, mass commentators in all churches and chapels in the diocese will no longer be allowed to use the public address systems in reading all mass intentions.
The reading of the mass intentions may be done privately in the sacristy or semi-privately on the commentator’s ambo, but without using the microphones.
Cortes also asked that intentions be edited “for brevity and propriety so as not to make their reading an occasion to disparage an opponent”.
He also reminded the priests and religious that as elections are drawing near, “let us be more assiduous in teaching our faithful the Church’s moral principles regarding politics”.
The reminders to the people include not selling their votes, be guided by their conscience in voting, and choosing those who uphold the motto of “Maka-Diyos, Maka-tao, Makakalikasan, at Makabayan (Godly, humane, nature-loving, and patriotic)”, which the Church adopted as guiding principles for the elections.
“Vote-selling may be enjoyed in three days, but may also mean three years of suffering from bad governance and corruption,” the 65-year-old prelate said.
He also told the clergy that “starting with ourselves, let us urge our faithful to pray unceasingly in these times when evil manifests its many ugly faces, destroying individuals, families, and even nations”. (PNA)