MANILA, Sept. 24, 2013—No Catholic churches were damaged but some community chapels have been destroyed by the conflict in Zamboanga City.
Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, administrator of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, said violence in some villages has caused enormous damaged to at least two community chapels.
“Only two community chapels were damaged by fire. Mostly homes are destroyed. No parish church damaged,” Manongas said.
As of now, he said they are focused in their relief and rehabilitation operations for those affected by the fighting between the security forces and the Moro National Liberation Front.
Churches that were destroyed during the fighting need to be reconsecrated once reconstructed, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said.
He said that a church once rebuilt must be reconsecrated not because it has been desecrated but rather because, in a sense, it is already considered a “new” church.
“There is desecration if somebody got killed in the church but if the structure was physically destroyed it needs only to be reconstructed and reconsecrated,” Cruz said.
“It’s reconsecrated because it’s already new but if only a few things need to be fixed, then there is no need to do that (reconsecrate),” he added.
In the Prelature of Basilan, some churches, like the Sta. Isabel Portugal Cathedral of Isabela, were rededicated when it was destroyed in the past.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said the cathedral was destroyed when it was bombed in 2010.
“We did the rite of rededication of the place of worship…we also did it when St. Peter Parish in Lamitan was destroyed in 2001,’ he said.
The prelate, however, revealed that no church in his diocese has been destroyed so far because of the fighting between the government troops and the MNLF.
With the Zamboanga City crisis now on its 16th day, the government is hopeful to end the siege by weekend. (CBCPNews)