I will digress from the usual theme of this blog in the light of tomorrow's national and local elections. We should learn from the electoral process for a pope. During the conclave (the election of a pope) the cardinals are confined within the Sistine Chapel and are not released from there until a pope is elected. This gives them the opportunity to be secluded so as to be able to pray and discern well. (Well, the historical origin of this practice is not as pious as it seems to be.) I think that this tells us so much about what we should be doing in discerning whom to vote for. We should not allow ourselves to be influenced by surveys. I do not even understand why the media are allowed to publish survey results as doing so will tend to create a trend which will impair the voters' freedom to choose responsibly. People called for jury duty are confined to the court and hotel where they are accomodated. They are not allowed access to newspapers, television, radio, or any sort of communication with the world outside. This is to prevent their decision from being influenced by public opinion. Their decision must be based on a careful consideration of facts and evidences and nothing more. I do not understand why surveys are published. They impair the careful consideration of issues.
During election time, each cardinal is given a ballot to write in. Then, one by one, they stand in front of the altar - before the majestic mural of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo. Before this grand mural, they raise their ballots and make a personal declaration that they have voted according to conscience. Then they drop their ballot into a chalice on the altar. This ritual reminds every cardinal that he will be accountable to the Lord for his vote at the last judgment.
Now that the campaign has ended, it is time to pray and discern. In the spirit of prayer, we should make a list of the candidates to vote for. Before going to the voting precincts, pass by a church, stand before the altar, raise to the Lord your list and make a declaration to Him that you are voting according to your conscience.
Vote as a Catholic. People say that there is no Catholic vote. That's a mistake. Just as there is a Quiboloy vote, and an Iglesia vote, there is also a Catholic vote. The Catholic vote is the vote of conscience. While other churches will impose upon their members the choice for election, the bishops of the Catholic Church will simply tell you to vote according to your conscience. Vote on the basis of both moral uprightness and capability. Do not vote for anyone who has openly opposed the teachings of the Church. Do not vote for those who have openly defied the moral teachings on reproductive rights, abortion, divorce, same sex marriage, euthanasia, etc. (Remember to strike out your list the Quezon City councilors who signed the reproductive rights ordinance of the city. Only one did not sign and she is now a candidate for vice mayor of Quezon City.) While other religious leaders treat their subordinates like children who do not have a mind of their own, the bishops of the Catholic Church treat their flock as adults. Vote responsibly as adult Christians! Remember that on the day of your death and at the last judgment, you shall make an account of your vote before the Lord! Vote intelligently and responsibly!