Help, don’t proselytize – Borongan bishop

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MANILA, July 9, 2014 — A Catholic bishop denounced the practice of giving assistance to typhoon ‘Yolanda’ victims in Eastern Samar supposedly in exchange for their faith, technically called “proselytizing”.

Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said several religious denominations, which he did not identify, have been recruiting survivors, mostly Catholics, into their groups through financial and relief aid.

These groups, he said in his fourth pastoral letter after ‘Yolanda’, are “taking advantage” of the survivors’ vulnerability “in the guise” of compassionate response.

'Yolanda' survivors in Eastern Samar are still in the process of recovery and rehabilitation eight months after super typhoon 'Yolanda'. (Photo: CBCP News)

“Proselytizing from among the vulnerable calls into question the sincerity of one’s charity. To them I say: If you really desire to give help, do so without conditions,” Varquez said.

“Lack of respect for the faith of others can never be Christ-like,” he said.

The bishop said the survivors could accept the assistance they are given but “never give up your Catholic faith”.

“Faithfulness is a mark of true faith. As members of the Roman Catholic Church, let us unite ourselves in living, preserving, defending and proclaiming our Catholic faith,” Varquez added.

The prelate earlier criticized international and local non-government organizations (NGOs) by distributing contraceptives such as condoms and pills to typhoon victims.

According to him, these NGO “unfortunately also abuse” the vulnerability of the victims by making contraceptives as essential components of their assistance.

Varquez called on Catholics to make a moral stand with the local clergy and resist all forms of artificial birth control services.

“This phenomenon is alarming,” he said. “They violate Catholic norms of morality and many times adversely affect the health of persons, especially women”. (Roy Lagarde)

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