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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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Team Patay list called ‘arrogant’

The controversy over the “Team Patay, Team Buhay” list of the Diocese of Bacolod, that identifies senatorial candidates whom the faithful should support and reject for their stance on the reproductive health law, has stirred reactions even from within the clergy, with one of them calling it “unconscionable”.

Fr. Joel Tabora, president of Ateneo de Davao University, in his “Team Patay, Team Buhay: Unconscionable” post on his blog at http://taborasj.wordpress.com/author/joeltaborasj wrote: “Putting posters up about conscience in the context of a particular vote for or against particular people squanders and trivializes the moral authority of the Church.”

The Diocese of Bacolod late last week put up a 6 by 10 feet tarpaulin in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral bearing the names of “Team Patay” senatorial candidates who should not be supported for voting in favor of the RH Law, and a list of those on “Team Buhay”, who should be supported for voting against it.

“Where the ‘Catholic Church’ once played the role of the honest broker, confining itself officially to ‘voters education’ and securing clean and honest elections, they have now effectively reduced the ‘Catholic Church’ to a political party,” Tabora writes, adding “only, there is no ‘Catholic Vote’.”

He said the Diocese of Bacolod seems to insinuate that should one vote for those on the Team Patay list, it would not be a “conscience vote,” which he called “silly in its arrogance. And harmful to the Church’s Gospel.”

The comments of Tabora on his blog were picked by numerous websites of national news media outlets yesterday.

Fr.DmitriGatia, rector of the San Diego Pro-Cathedral in Silay City, Negros Occidental, said that while the priests agreed with the posting of the list of senatorial candidates who voted in favor of the RH bill, they were not in full agreement on the posting and call for support of those who voted against it.

He said they had reservations on the Team Buhay list because of its endorsement of candidates.

However, the list was already made when presented to the clergy last week, he said.

There was also a strong reaction to the language used, such as the tag “Team Patay”, that some clergymen felt should have been toned down a bit, Gatia said.

Moises de la Cruz, a Catholic, and an anti-RH advocate, said he personally views the behavior of the Diocese of Bacolod Friday night as unChristian.

The Diocese, led by Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra, held an ecumenical protest while the Team PNoy senatorial candidates were holding a rally across the street at the Bacolod public plaza, he noted.

They made their loudspeakers face towards the plaza in an apparent move to disrupt a peaceful rally, and also set off firecrackers, de la Cruz noted.

Fr. Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral, said their activity Friday night was part of nightly ongoing activities of the Diocese to celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

Meanwhile, the posting of the “Team Buhay, Team Patay” tarpaulin of the Diocese has also been slammed in numerous social media venues.

Pasquin, defending the actions of the diocese, said it is the duty of the Church to stand up for the teachings of the Gospel.

We are not engaged in partisan politics, our stand is on a moral issue, he said.*CPG

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