There is this strange phenomenon of certain Priests – who are admittedly few with the felt desire and formal design to become politicians and thus decidedly leaving the clerical ministry in order to become government officials by filing their candidacies for public offices through the election process. They undergo some 12 to 15 years of studies and formation to ultimately enter into the clerical state and eventually become ordained Priests. But sometime later, for one reason or another, they subsequently make the option and final decision to join politics, to become politicians, to live political lives. Hereto prior, they decidedly leave the clerico-priestly ministry which is basically in favor of the propagation of faith and the teaching of morals. They prefer to land a secular job with worldly agenda and thereby turn their backs to the altar in favor of government service.
No. Politics is not necessarily evil as it is identified with public service for public welfare. But neither is the priestly ministry merely identified with sermons and collections, purely preoccupied with spiritual truths and angelic concerns. And yes. Politics is for the here and now. Priesthood however is for here and the hereafter, for the now and thereafter. As politics is for earthly realities, the Priesthood is not only for the things in heaven but also for temporal factors as amply and clearly enunciated by the “Social Doctrine of the Church”. In other words, Priests do not need to be politicians in order to bring about the emergence of truth and the application of justice, the reign of peace, and the promotion of development.
Sad but true: No “Ex-Priests” in this modern world ever succeeded as politicians – all their good will and good intentions to the contrary. Sample reasons why: Priests do the talking while people do the listening. Politicians do the listening while people do the talking. Politicians go to the people while people go to the Priests. Priests save the money for the people while politicians spend the money for the people. Politicians live more with the general public while Priests are used to living in solitude. So it is that strictly speaking, no good Priest will make a good politician in the same way that no good politician will make a good priest. So is it that both Civil Law and Canon Law understand well the above composite truth – such that both have their respective clear and expressed normative provisions to that effect:
“The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” (1987 Phil. Constitution, Art. II, Section 6). People wherefore have the freedom to belong to and observe the teachings and practice and practices of their chosen religion or Church – without the State having any right to restrict the said freedom.
“Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.” (1983 Code of Canon Law, c. 285 par. 3). The Church likewise separates her Clergy from being in government service with the use of civil authority therewith appended.
In so many words, Clerics in the Catholic Church are officially forbidden to run for any elective public office. Period. There are more than enough individuals in the Country who are well qualified for the job.