Colombian priest urges conscientious voting ahead of presidential election

Cynthia Perez   By Cynthia Perez for CNA


Dario Diament/Shutterstock.

Cali, Colombia, Mar 31, 2022 / 14:24 pm (CNA).

A Colombian priest has called on Catholics to be consistent with their religious convictions and the teaching of the Church when voting for their political representatives, as the country’s presidential election nears.

Colombia’s presidential election will be held May 29.

In a video, Father Ramiro Quintero Salazar reminded the faithful of the importance of participating in elections and voting for political representatives who respect the teaching of the Catholic Church on life, family, and religious freedom.

Father Quintero, a member of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, is a chaplain at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Chapel in Cali.

In the video, Fr. Quintero said that “Because it’s a Christian duty, I invite you to exercise the right to vote. Regardless of being on the right or the left, let’s vote for Colombia; that means voting in conscience,” said the priest. “It’s useless to pray as a Christian, but to vote as an atheist,” he stressed.

Fr. Quintero recalled the importance of Catholics being consistent with their faith when choosing their candidates and called on people to not vote for candidates who support abortion or communism.

People “pray for life, but they vote for candidates who are pro-abortion. They pray for God to deliver the Church from persecution in communist countries, but vote for communist or pro-communist candidates. They pray asking God for the spread of the Gospel, but they vote for candidates who want to close churches,” the priest said.

He also pointed to the importance of electing representatives who defend the family and the proper education of children, rejecting representatives who support gender ideology.

People “pray for the family, but they vote for candidates who espouse ideologies that destroy the family. They pray for their children, but in the elections they vote for candidates who defend pedophiles and gender ideology. They pray for God to free young people from drugs, but they vote for candidates who are in favor of legalizing them,” he added.

The National Consulting Center published a recent survey of likely voters in the upcoming presidential election. The study has a margin of error of 2.1% and a confidence level of 95%.

According to the results, candidate Gustavo Petro of Humane Colombia, which is part of the Historic Pact for Colombia alliance, is the favorite, with 32% of likely voters.

The Historic Pact coalition includes the Colombian Communist Party, the Colombian Labor Party, the Movement for the Popular Constituent Assembly, and the Indigenous and Social Alternative Movement.

Petro is followed by Federico Gutiérrez, an independent representing the Team for Colombia coalition who was mayor of Medellín from 2016 to 2019, with 23% of likely voters favoring him. They are trailed by Rodolfo Hernández, another independent, and Sergio Fajardo of the Independent Social Alliance, both with 10% of likely voters supporting them.

Colombian presidents are limited to a single four-year term.

Fr. Quintero’s video has drawn various reactions. According to a local radio station, Eugenio Trujillo Villegas, director of the Colombian society Tradition and Action, said that “included in Petro’s program is the abolition of private property, the imposition of socialism and a state economy that lead the country to misery and all the ideas of Humane Colombia, Marxist principles.”

Trujillo stressed that taking a position is important, and “one of the Church’s main missions is to guide the faithful about the future of the country, and what is at stake in the elections is the salvation of Colombia.”

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