On June 10, 2018, Rev. Fr. Richmond Nilo of the Diocese of Cabanatuan was preparing to celebrate Sunday Mass with his parishioners when he was shot by unknown gunmen inside a chapel in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija. He is already the second priest from the province to have been murdered, and the fourth case of violence against priests since the murder of Fr. Tito Paez in December 2017. The following is a statement from Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, D.D., O.P. (Dominican Priestly Fraternity), Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.
Our dear people of God: They are killing our flock. They are killing us, the shepherds. They are killing our faith. They are cursing our Church. They are killing God again as they did in Calvary.
Killing is the solution. Killing is the language. Killing is the way. Killing is the answer. Killing is encouraged. Killing is their job. Killers are rewarded. Killers boast of their murders.
The fact that we’re one of the last few countries without a divorce law until now speaks volumes about us as a nation. No doubt, those who associate divorce with being progressive would laud our legislators who are currently raring to pass a divorce bill in Congress. With due respect to them, we beg them to make room for more reasoned debates on the issue. Since they act as representatives of the people who elected them in office, we humbly suggest that they submit their personal opinions to a further consultation with their constituents. Perhaps they can also consult experts in various fields in order to consider the many implications of the issue, not just on families but on the Philippine society as a whole.
Panawagan sa Bayan ng Diyos sa Archdiocese ng Lingayen Dagupan
Ang gulo ng bayan!
Parami nang parami ang mga ulila sa magulang, sa asawa at sa anak. Pakiusap na “Huwag po!” naririnig sa mga eskinita at tambakan. Patayan sa magdamag. Panaghoy at hikbi sa madaling araw galing sa mga ulila. Ang multo ng mga pinatay ay humihingi ng awa. Ang isip ng mga buhay ay puno ng lungkot at takot “Baka ako na ang isusunod? Sino ang nakatitiyak.”
Photo by Maricar Santos / Eric Paul Guanlao / Josh Alfaro
This is a letter from Manila archbishop, H.E. Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, which will be read in all Masses in the Archdiocese of Manila on 20 August 2017.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Archdiocese of Manila,
On August 12-17, 2017, I participated in the meeting of Caritas Latin America held in El Salvador, a country where many people had been killed in a civil war. Until now it still contends with armed groups. In El Salvador, I heard news of the increase of killings in our own country due to an intensified war against illegal drugs. I am inviting you to reflect, pray and act.
The House of Representatives has given its consent for the State to kill. We, your bishops, are overcome with grief but we are not defeated nor shall we be silenced. In the midst of Lent we prepare to celebrate the triumph of Life over Death, and while we grieve that the Lower House has voted for death, our faith assures us that Life will triumph.
We call on all Catholic faithful and all Filipinos who stand for life to continue the spirited opposition to death penalty. We urge Catholic lawyers, judges and jurists to allow the gentleness of the Gospel of Life to illumine their reading and application of the law, so that their service to society as teachers and agents of the law and of justice may bring life. It is indeed that we may have life to the full that the Lord came into our midst.