Javier Prada officiating mass at a convention center in Bucaramanga. COURTESY
Father Javier Prada celebrated the Eucharist on August 6 at Neomundo, a convention center in Bucaramanga, Santander. “We declare open heavens of blessing for his campaign and victory in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Amen,” Prada said, addressing a man who was accompanying him on the altar. It was Milton Villamizar, candidate of the uribista Centro Democrático for mayor of Floridablanca, the second most important city in the department. The place, packed with faithful, was filled with applause. The mass soon took on the overtones of an act of political proselytism.
The father continued and blessed another electoral aspiration. The attendees repeated each of his words in unison. “Beloved Jesus, we ask you this afternoon to spread over him, his life, his family and the presence of the Most High so that you grant him your victory,” he said, referring to Hugo Rodríguez, who also received the endorsement of the Democratic Center and seeks to be a councilor. Bucaramanga. The episode was recorded by cell phone cameras and broadcast by Vanguardia, the main newspaper in the region.
The priest took advantage of the occasion, above all, to promote his own candidacy, because he wants to reach the Santander Assembly for the same right-wing party. “The Lord, for a few months, has called me to serve him in a stronger way to change this, every day there is more poverty, every day there are more difficulties and I want you to accompany me, so that they will not leave me alone”, he asserted, according to Vanguard.
In dialogue with EL PAÍS, Prada indicated that his actions did not imply any abuse of his powers as a religious and that, on the contrary, he asserted his rights as a citizen. “First of all we are children of God. And God’s candidates, who want to rule God’s people, always seek God’s blessing. Freedom of worship is respectable regardless of the person. What we did was a consecration of the candidacies ”, he assured.
Prada stressed that she does not belong to the Catholic Church but to the Episcopal Church of Colombia, a communion that stems from the Anglican Church. He also pointed out that his superiors authorized him to be a candidate. “Bishop Patricio Viveros gave me a license to campaign and celebrate the Eucharist. I know that I will remain as one of the most voted and I will be able to continue offering a ministerial service, but also with high-impact projects”, he affirmed.
When questioned about past support for other politicians, the priest was emphatic that this will be his first time as an active participant in a campaign. On his political vision, his Twitter account —or X— is revealing. There are publications from ten years ago in which the priest is critical of the peace process that was carried out between the Government and the FARC, as well as the then president Juan Manuel Santos.
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Yesterday 6 blockades and 46 agricultural concentrations in 12 departments. And Santos said that he expected more. Autistic cynicism.
— Father Javier Prada (@PbroPrada) August 20, 2013
The separation between Church and State was one of the principles that the Enlightenment brought with it. It is a constantly unknown rule and one that usually brings important political benefits. In the regional elections that will take place on October 29, Villamizar, Rodríguez, and Father Prada can be living proof of this and of the power of an anointing.
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