Church Asks Timor-Leste Presidential Candidates to Respect Holy Week

By The INDEPENDENTE April 12, 2022 774
Archbishop Dom Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili. Foto:INDEPENDENTE. Archbishop Dom Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili. Foto:INDEPENDENTE.

DILI: Timor-Leste’s top church leaders have called on presidential candidates campaigning in the run-off election to respect the sacredness of Holy Week, which started on Friday, according to Catholic News Asia.  

Archbishop Dom Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili, vice president of the Episcopal Conference of Timor (CET), said it was important that candidates and their supporters respect Holy Week.

"Considering the majority of the people's faith, we reminded candidates during the campaign to try to create a healthy and respectful environment," he told UCA News

Campaigning between veteran political figures incumbent President Francisco Lu Olo Guterres and Jose Ramos-Horta started on April 2 and the second round of the election will be held on April 19.

Archbishop da Silva said the bishops' conference had requested that the campaign period scheduled to run until April 16, Holy Saturday, be rescheduled.

“We sent a letter to the prime minister and National Election Commission [CNE] president humbly asking them to cancel campaign activities during Holy Week, at least during the Paschal Triduum,” he said.

“However, a day before the campaign I received a negative response from the government because the calendar is ratified by parliament.” 

He said the CNE is willing to change its policy by presenting a new calendar for the campaign that will be only until April 13. “Finally, the two candidates too adapted the changes in their respective calendars according to the CNE calendar,” he said.

The archbishop hopes that both candidates adhere to the schedule, particularly avoiding campaigning during the Paschal Triduum, as the CNE has arranged.

Previously, Archbishop da Silva has called on the people of Timor-Leste “to avoid attacking each other and promote harmony and respect among themselves” during campaign periods.

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