MANILA, July 7, 2016— The country’s current social and political landscape will be among the issues that will be discussed by the Catholic bishops when they convene for their plenary assembly in Manila.
Fr. Marvin Mejia, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the prelates are expected to address a host of “national issues”, apart from the usual internal and church matters.
“There will be discussions about World Congress on Mercy but definitely the bishops will also discuss the current socio-political landscape,” Mejia said.
But the priest said the final agenda are yet to be decided by the CBCP Permanent Council headed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas when they gather prior to the plenary meeting this Friday.
“There are suggestions coming in then the permanent council will finalize the agenda the day before the meeting,” he said.
The CBCP currently has around 90 active and some 38 retired members who are expected to attend the biannual meeting that will be presided by Villegas, who is now in his second and last term as president.
The three-day assembly at the Pius XII Center in Manila will be formally opened by Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, who is the official representative of Pope Francis in the Philippines, on Saturday, July 9.
The CBCP’s 35 commissions, committees and offices will also present to render their annual reports to the plenary, the highest governing body of the bishops’ collegial body.
Mejia added that the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is also set to report to the bishops about its final assessment of the recent local and national elections.
The plenary assembly which is held twice a year, in January and July, is always preceded by either a seminar or a retreat. This July it is with an annual retreat at the Betania Retreat House in Tagaytay City.
The CBCP has earlier raised the alarm bells over the recent spate of vigilante-style murders in the country.
While commending the authorities in their strong anti-crime crusade, the bishops are also concerned over the rising number of suspected drug pushers being killed in an alleged shootout since the May 9 elections.
The bishops also expressed strong opposition to the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in Congress to revive the death penalty. (R.Lagarde/CBCPNews)