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Bishop refutes alleged plan to lease part of historic church

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Archbishop Ramon Arguelles

MANILA, Nov. 1, 2013— A Catholic archbishop has refuted allegations that his archdiocese is planning to use a portion of a heritage church for commercial purposes. 

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said there is no truth to stories that they are going to lease part of the Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Balayan town to a grocery chain. 

“More than the consideration of the Historical Commission, it is not part of the intention of the Archdiocese of Lipa to lease that portion of the building for a commercial  end, convinced of its intrinsic evangelizing force and cultural valence,” Arguelles said. 

“To the advice for us to stop some diggings and all development projects affecting the church building, I say we cannot stop anything that has never been started,” he said. 

The archbishop made the statement this week amid growing protests that even reached the Vatican through signature and media campaigns. 

Arguelles admitted that it has come across the archdiocesan finance administrator’s mind to toy with the idea due to an interested party to make optimal use of the space. 

He said the oeconomus then asked some priests to study about its feasibility— a move that immediately triggered a barraged of angry responses. 

At this point, he said, the finance officer was advised to take “the course of silence”, hoping that the issue would not have worsened to such “uncharitable proportion” but it did not stop from there. 

“Certainly, because of these misrepresentations, we are pained that the parish and the archdiocese are immediately placed in a bad light in the eyes of our unknowing and misinformed faithful who are men and women of goodwill,” he said. 

He reiterated the archdiocese’s intention to preserve and to propagate the historical and cultural importance of its churches. 

“Allow me to clearly declare to everyone: more than the consideration of the Historical Commission, it is not part of the intention of the Archdiocese of Lipa to lease a portion of the building for a commercial end, convinced of its intrinsic evangelizing force and cultural valence,” Arguelles said. 

“To the advice for us to stop some diggings and all development projects affecting the church building, I say we cannot stop anything that has never been started,” he added. (CBCPNews)


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