CBCP head seeks ‘Pope Francis’ approach vs corruption

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MANILA, July 5, 2014— Opening a three-day meeting of the country’s bishops, the head of the Catholic hierarchy said the Church’s pastoral approach against corruption must be like Pope Francis’.

CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said instead of just condemning corruption, the Church in the Philippines could adopt the pope’s approach by “widening its circles of integrity.”

“Perhaps, we can reconsider our approach at solving the canter of the Philippine society which is graft and corruption by talking more about beauty of integrity and honesty rather constantly denouncing the evil that we experience,” Villegas said.

Rather than just creating “fiercer watchdogs” against corruption, the archbishop said that perhaps the church can also reach out more with compassion.

“Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that for every prophetic denunciation we utter, we must stretch our hands to offer an opportunity for conversion and healing,” he said.

Villegas made the statement during his speech at the opening of the CBCP 109th Plenary Assembly at the Pius XII Center in Manila on Saturday, July 5.

According to him, the pontiff challenges not just the bishops and the clergy to follow his example of “humble and happy ministry.”

“We are not required to make an opinion on everything. We are surely not experts in everything. We must be comfortable with admitting in public what we do not know and honestly say it without sounding evasive,” said Villegas.

The duty of the bishops is not to be “in the limelight”, he explained, but to be “spotlights” so that others are able to see Jesus more clearly.

As the country prepares for the visit of Pope Francis in January next year, he exhorted the bishops to “serve with humility and happiness.”

“Let us resolve as a fraternity of bishops to speak with honesty from the mind and to listen patiently with the heart; to see the goodness in everyone and live the mercy of the Gospel,” he said.

“This is the example of Pope Francis. Living by this example will make us good shepherds like the Good Shepherd,” Villegas said. (CBCPNews)

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