Bishops mourn victims of summary killings

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MANILA, Sept. 16, 2016— As drug-related violence shows no sign of stopping, the Catholic hierarchy, the Catholic bishops, have spoken with one voice, saying deaths from summary killings is cause for mourning.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows, they said all “offenses against life”, including abortion and the recent bombing in Davao City, are sins that “cry to heaven for divine justice.”

“Like murder, these sins cry to heaven for divine justice,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“We mourn with you the deaths that we have seen in our communities,” he said.

The bishops also called on the police authorities to ensure human rights are respected in the government’s war on drugs.

“…Human dignity always protected and the nobility of every human person shine forth despite the scar of crime and sin,” said Villegas.

The bishops urged the families of those who died in extrajudicial killings and other crimes not to seek revenge and call it justice.

“We beg for divine mercy from the bereaved and grieving families of the dead. Seek justice but not revenge,” they said.

According to police records, more than 3,500 people have been killed in the past ten weeks— about 1,400 were drug suspects killed in police operations and the rest by unknown assailants.

The CBCP said drug addicts must be given a chance to reform because they too are “children of God equal in dignity with the sober ones.”

“Drug addicts are sick brethren in need of healing … deserving of new life not death,” Villegas said. “They are patients begging for recovery.”

“They may have behaved as scum and rubbish, but the saving of love of Jesus Christ is first and foremost for them. No man or woman is ever so unworthy of God’s love,” he added.

The prelate also called on those caught in the chains of drug addiction “not to be afraid” and to reform themselves.

“Dead in their addictions, ‘living dead’ in the eyes of an unforgiving world, we bid our addicted brethren to rise up and live again,” he said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) 

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