It looks like president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership eccentricity is rubbing off not only on his appointees and existing government officials but, unbelievably, also on the Catholic Church hierarchy.
How else could you describe Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s appeal to the parishes, shrines, chapels, religious communities and Catholic schools, following a recommendation from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), that an ‘oratio imperata’ or obligatory prayer be recited before a new set of government officials assume office on June 30?
Let us not kid ourselves. For reasons not to sound too obvious or confrontational, CBCP used the collective name of ‘government officials’ but in reality the prayer request is simply directed at no less than the incoming president himself.
Let me explain.
‘Oratio imperata’, a Latin word for obligatory prayer, is a set of Roman Catholic invocative prayers consisting of a liturgical action and a short, general prayer which the local ordinary or prelate of the church may publicly pray when there is a looming calamity or any grave public danger to society.
In fact it was explained in the papers, that in the Philippine context, Catholic bishops invokes the oratio imperata usually to address natural and man-made calamities, such as droughts and typhoons.
If that is the case, why would Tagle then be requesting the faithful to say an obligatory prayer for the incoming government officials? Why, are they going to cause havoc upon the population once they assume office?
Does vice president-elect Leni Robredo and the aging but competent and upright Cabinet family of Duterte need this particular type of prayer?
But why this kind of prayer for elected officials now? Yes, we had always been implored to pray and to wish new elected officials success, but not asked to supplicate as if they are going to make our lives chaotic and miserable.
I haven’t seen the substance of the obligatory prayer yet, as written by the collective members of CBCP, but I bet it is one that is reflective of the misdeeds of Duterte.
What a shame!
Better yet for the nation, CBCP should issue an ‘oratio imperata’ for their own selves and leave government to run the functions of the State.