MANILA, Jan. 18, 2017— A Catholic bishop demanded forceful denunciations of drug-related killings in the Philippines from the country’s Church leaders and from the faithful.
Speaking at the 4th Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Manila on Tuesday, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Christians should not be reined in by fear when confronting the crisis that has claimed more than 6,000 lives over the past six months.
“Six thousand killed. That means more than 30,000 people directly affected, orphaned of their father, their brother, their sons and daughters, their husbands. These thousands are deeply traumatized and even now made more poor,” he said.
At the same time, he told more than 5,000 bishops, priests, and lay people from different countries gathered for the Congress that to speak out for the poor is not just opening one’s mouth but also listening and being available to them.
“If we are true to our call to be Church of the Poor, we cannot as Church keep silent on these issues,” said Pabillo, who formerly chaired the Church’s National Secretariat for Social Action, and Peace (Nassa).
“I know that people tag me as activist bishop for speaking out often, but I am not speaking out for myself but for the poor and voiceless.”
“For me, it is not an insult to be tagged and identified with the poor and the oppressed. It is what I am supposed to be, to be a follower of Christ,” added the prelate.
Currently the chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on the Laity, the bishop will also be leading a “Walk for Life” in Manila on Feb. 18 to demonstrate their condemnation of the wave of extrajudicial killings.
Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas President Zenaida Capistrano said it is about time lay people express their opposition to the thousands of unexplained killings.
“We, the Filipino Catholic lay faithful signify our protest against all forms of threats to human life and dignity that are coming from the economic, social, and political structures and authorities,” Capistrano said. (CBCPNews)