By Romualdo Robin Rodrigues
Panaji, August 8, 2019: There has been much debate over priests talking about politics and getting involved in politics.
Why should they get out of their church and residence and speak their prophetic role? Because politics permeates his entire life.
Early morning the priest gets up to face a new day.
He prays and thanks the Almighty, His Creator, for the Love of Life given to him that day. He has to face politics!
He is a human, an anointed by God, a priest for His flock and a citizen of his state and country.
After he gets out of bed he has to depend on the water and politics dictates its price. The price of every cubic liter is decided by politics. Prices go up but never go down.
The same is the case with the toothbrush he uses. Who decides the prices of these commodities – the tooth paste, the shaving cream and the shaving blades? Politicians.
The price of his breakfast items (whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian) depends on politics — Milk, butter, tea, bread, vegetables, fruits and meat (why tell him what to eat and what not to eat?).
Everything he uses depends on the budget — the political implications, the price rise.
The rice, the curry, the coconut, the fruits, the fish….aren’t they ruled by politics? The prices of watch, shoes, socks, trousers, and shirts are governed by politics. What he has to pay for the cooking gas depends on the government. That is politics.
The employees who work in his church and church institutions have to be paid a decent salary. Politics decides what they should be paid.
The electricity for the church and residence is governed by politics. The priest pays the bills of phone, water, and electricity. He also pays road tax, insurance for his bike. He also pays for items in his church such mike All this depends on the decision of the government in power.
Sometimes the bills give him electric shocks.
The flock that he leads looks upon his prophetic role. They are also humans –flesh and blood, bones and all. The flock sees him as a human, a baptized Christian, a Catholic, priest, and a citizen of the country. He has also to vote and decide who he wants at the state and centre.
His one vote will also make a difference. This is truly getting involved in politics …for a clean zero tolerance government. The flock that votes will decide the future of the state and the country – also the future of what they buy and sell, not what they hoard. The bicycle, the scooter, the car, the road tax is ruled by politics. The registration of his vehicle is governed by politics. The diesel, petrol, later who knows the solar car, depends on the governmental politics.
The books he buys to study and the newspaper he reads are taxed. The price is ruled by taxes. Who decides the taxes? Isn’t it politics?
Unless we get a fair idea of what politics is we will continue to demand that priests should not speak politics. They live in society and are affected by what happens in society. The priest isn’t a spirit to depend on nothing. He belongs to the Spirit of the Lord but he is a human. He depends on God for his support as those who talk about him, criticize him.
The advantage they have is the knowledge that he is harmless.
The flock, the shepherd and the priest have to cast their sacred ballot to select people who will decide their “daily needs” and think of the poor and marginalized.
The flock sometimes needs a person to guide them to vote. The priest is a voice of the voiceless. Some feel frightened to speak for the poor and against undecided politics, rabid politics, hate politics that damages the fabric of society and endangers our Constitution. Who will save it? This is a concern of the priest too.
He trusts there will be electricity for his fan and light as he makes his night prayers before bed. The alarm clock will wake him up in the morning. And it will depend on battery whose sale is controlled by politics. When the priest dies the family buys the coffin, the price of which is decided by politics.
As long as the priest lives on this earth, he is involved in politics. But he is apolitical — he belongs to no party. But he has to be with the poor, the marginalized like his master Jesus Christ and become the voice of the voiceless.