The Theology and Ministry Program of the School of Humanities invites you to the online oral defense of the M.A. Thesis entitled “FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP: A Contemporary Filipino Catholic Approach to Political Participation” by JOHN LEMUEL L. LENON on April 21, 2022 (Thursday), 10:00am. The Board of Examiners is composed of Anatoly Angelo Aseneta, Ph.D. (Principal Examiner), Jayeel Cornelio, Ph.D., and Fr. Teotimo Melliza, S.S.P., S.T.D. The M.A. Thesis Adviser is Br. Joaquin Yap, Jr., S.W., D.Phil. The defense is being held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Systematic Theology. It is open to the public.
Abstract: This thesis explores the role of Christian faith-commitment in the contentious field of Philippine politics. This topic is controversial and has been the subject of much debate. There are those who argue that religion must be relegated merely to private experience and thus has little (if at all) to contribute to the concerns of modern society, its politics least of all. Yet even the staunchest critics of religion admit that secular and pluralistic societies like the Philippines still draw much guidance from the wisdom of religion as it discerns its proper response to contemporary social and political issues. Indeed, the role of religion in society today has evolved and not been extinguished. “Faithful Citizenship”, an evocative term borrowed from the American Catholic bishops, is the key term used in this thesis to refer to a Christian believer’s participation in political matters in accordance with the teachings of the Christian faith.
By drawing from the wisdom of Sacred Scripture, magisterial teaching, and the collective experience of Filipino Catholics, the thesis asserts that there exists a clear and consistent call to all Catholics to bear witness to their faith even in political matters. Participation in, and engagement with, matters political is a constitutive expression of one’s faith. This is especially true when politics is viewed as the means by which society could be justly structured in pursuit of the common good. Through the lens of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5:1-12), the magisterial teachings in Evangelii Gaudium and the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, and the role played by the Philippine Church in recent history, the thesis finally presents a framework for Faithful Citizenship in the hope of guiding the political participation of Filipino Catholics.