filipinos are seen Jan. 10 in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Manila (CNS/Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)
Philippine Pres. Duterte calls on people to kill and rob bishops. The President is responsible for killing 20,000 people by extrajudicial killings (not legally authorized) in his war on narcotics. ucanews.com
Duterte has repeatedly accused Catholic priests and bishops of corruption and of sex abuse.” https:// http://www.ncronline.org/news/quick-reads/despite-comments-against-bishops-duterte-open-talks-spokesman-says
The Catholic Free Press states on Feb. 1, 2019: “Catholic bishops in the Philippines broke what they described as their collective silence over many distressing issues that have confronted the country in recent months.
In a pastoral statement issued at the end of their meeting in Manila Jan. 28, the bishops asked forgiveness from the faithful “for the length of time it took us to find our collective voice” reported ucanews.com
In their statement “Conquering Evil With Good” the bishops admitted they have observed how the culture of violence has gradually prevailed in our land.
They said the Jan 27 bombing of the cathedral in Jolo was further evidence of the cycle of hate that is destroying the moral fabric of our country.”
This bombing occurred during Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the city of Jolo. Islamic State issued a statement claiming two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts inside the church and near its entrance. The first blast left bodies strewn on the floor amid destroyed pews. A second explosion near the entrance shortly after killed at least five soldiers trying to help the wounded. One hundred people were injured and twenty killed. Islamic state issued a statement claiming responsibility.
The statement from the bishops went on to say that “since his election in 2016, Philippine President Duterte has repeatedly attacked Catholic leaders, even questioning church teachings and calling God stupid.
In recent weeks the president urged people to either rob or kill bishops. We have silently noted these painful instances with deep sorrow and prayed over them.
“The bishops had taken their “cue about silence from Pope Francis but now say that freedom of expression does not include a license to insult other people’s faith, especially our core beliefs..”
The bishops admitted that when people do not understand the doctrines of the faith “we have ourselves to blame … perhaps we have not been effective in our catechesis.”
From some sectors had come a warning to church leaders not to criticize the governments fight against illegal drugs. We are not against the governments’ efforts however.
We have long acknowledged that illegal drugs are a menace to society. We only began wondering about the direction of Duterte’s drug war when it was only poor people reportedly linked to the illegal drug trade who were killed.
As bishops, we have no intention in interfering in the conduct of state affairs, but neither do we intend to abdicate our sacred mandate as shepherds to whom the Lord has entrusted his flock.
No amount of intimidation or even threat to our lives will make us give up our prophetic role, especially that of giving voice to the voiceless.
We urge the faithful to be sober and alert despite the threats.
As members of God’s flock, we must learn to be brave, to stick together and look after one another.
Let this moment be a time to pray, to be strong, wise and committed. Let this be also a teaching moment for us all, a moment for relearning our core beliefs, principles, and values … And what it means to be a Catholic Christian at this time.”
Mary Mediatrix of All Grace Pray For Us !!