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Philippines: Bishops Invoking God’s Mercy and Justice on Those who Have Blasphemed God’s Holy Name

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“On July 16, 2018 on the feast of the Blessed Mother of Mt. Carmel, the mountain associated with the bold challenge of the prophet Elijah in defense of God (2 Kings 18), let us spend a day of prayer and penance, invoking God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country. We invite you to join us, your bishops, in three days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving from July 17 to 19, 2018.”

That is the exhortation by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in a July 9, 2018, letter signed by the president of the CBCP, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao.

The Philippines has been beset with violence and anti-Christian sentiment in recent months, including President Rodrigo Duarte’s reference to God as “stupid” and his offer to resign if anyone could prove God exists.  In addition, three Catholic priests have been assassinated in the past six months.

The letter does not mention any political or cultural leaders by name, but uses strong language to condemn the lack of care for the poor.

“Our sufferings as Church leaders are nothing compared to the sufferings of the poor in our country,” the bishops’ letter says. “Do we not hear the cry of poor slum-dwellers being jailed for ‘loitering’? Have they forgotten that for the homeless urban poor — the little alleys between their flimsy homes also serve as kitchens, bathrooms, recreation spaces, and playgrounds for their children? Have they forgotten that they live in tiny dwellings that are razed quickly to the ground when fire strikes, because they do not have proper roads? Do we not feel the sufferings of drug addicts who are labelled as ‘non-humans’, and are stigmatized as criminals when their names end up in the dreaded ‘drug watch lists’?

“Yes, we are aware of the sufferings of those who have been victimized by substance abusers, but can we not see them also as sick people who are struggling with a disease? Should we not rather look at them also as victims who are crying out for help?”

“Are we to remain as bystanders when we hear of people being killed in cold blood by ruthless murderers who dispose of human lives like trash? Do we not realize that for every drug suspect killed, there is a widowed wife and there are orphaned children left behind — who could hardly even afford a decent burial for their loved ones? Do we not care when poor people’s homes are searched without warrants, or when drug suspects are arrested without warrants, or detained without charges?”

Source: Zenit

Photo: Archbishop Valles – Zenit/CBCP News Photo

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