MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in a move that borders on being excessive, urged Malacañang to adopt practices similar to a papal conclave in choosing the country’s next chief justice.
A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of Cardinals convened to elect a Bishop of Rome, who becomes the pope, when there is a vacancy in the office. The pope is considered by Catholics to be the successor of Saint Peter and earthly head of the Catholic Church.
In a five page letter to President Benigno Aquino III, the CBCP is lobbying for more Catholic influences in our government’s day-to-day task.
“We all know that the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, that is a fact (sic). That is why we are pushing further for the participation of our members into politics; be it as party-list representatives, torch-bearers for
irresponsible parenthood, creation of non-existent ‘bloc voting‘, and now, in the selection of the next chief justice.”
The letter goes on to detail the steps needed to be taken in order to appoint a God fearing, righteous, and honorable Supreme
Pontiff Court Chief Justice.
- A group of priest shall meet in a conclave to elect the new chief justice. They shall remain inside a room until a choice has been made.
- Priests are not permitted to have any contact with the outside world.
- CBCP can add 1 more nominee from their ranks to the existing 20.
- A two-thirds-plus-one majority is required to elect.
- Each cardinal is given a small rectangular ballot with the Latin words Eligo in Summum Curia Principes Iustitia, “I elect as supreme court chief justice,” printed at the top.
- He would then silently indicate his vote by writing a person’s name with a pen below those words.
- A vote for Catholic church nominee is preferred.
- Two ballots each are held in the morning and afternoon, for a total of four per day.
- The ballots are placed in a receptacle.
After the vote, all the ballots are burned. If the proper majority has been reached and the elected person has accepted, white smoke appears above the CBCP office in Intramuros to inform the anxiously-awaiting Filipinos public that a new chief Justice has been elected. If a new chief justice has not been elected, water or a special chemical is added to the ballots so that black smoke appears. The vote is repeated for as long as it takes until a new chief justice has been elected.
The CBCP is lobbying for the President to consider their suggestion, or else they might threaten to ban the future wedding ceremony (if any) of the bachelor leader from any of its churches in the country.
“That or excommunication. Whichever works,” said a CBCP leader.