• Defend what is right, Villegas urges bishops

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    Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), called on all priests and bishops to stand up and defend what is right as he denounced what he called the persecution of the Church.

    In his strongly worded Easter message, Villegas also took a swipe at Catholics who watch silently as government implement actions that run counter to the Church’s dogma, obviously referring to the killing of drug suspects and the reimposition of the death penalty, which the Church has strongly opposed.

    “It is so fashionable to make churchmen the punching bag of public officials to the glee of our parishioners,” the Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop said.

    “The Church is under persecution. The signs are clear. The teachings of God on life and family are under attack. Do not let evil intimidate you. Do not let their threats silence the priests and bishops. This is not the time for cowards. This is the ripe season for martyrs. This is a moment of glory,” Villegas said.

    He warned that rebuffing Church morals and doctrines must be stopped, because if it continues, “we will see less and less priests and bishops reaching old age and more priests and bishops dying as martyrs at the prime of their lives.”

    Villegas called on bishops and priest to stand up and take courage, even if it means going to jail for the sake of the Gospel or death for the sake of the Catholic faith.

    “The Church will not die when Christ’s believers are killed. The Catholic faith will bloom, grow and glow. What we cannot do in life as Catholics, we will be able to do when they kill us and make us martyrs. First they will kill our name. Then they will destroy our beliefs. Then they will kill our body. But no one can stop our hearts from beating only for God,” the prelate said.

    He then turned to Catholics who allow their “idols,” obviously referring to President Rodrigo Duterte, to curse the Pope.

    “How many of our Catholic countrymen fully believe in the Catholic teachings and live by the same Catholic moral principles? How many of our Catholics openly and blatantly declare “I am a Catholic but I agree that drug addicts must be killed; they are useless. I am a Catholic but I am pro-death penalty. I am a Catholic but I favor gay marriages. I am a Catholic but I do not always obey my bishop who is too old-fashioned. I am a priest but my bishop’s circulars are optional for obedience. I am a Catholic congressman but I when I vote on bills, the budget allocation for my projects are primary, not my conscience. I am a Catholic but I do not mind if the Pope is called son of a prostitute. I am a Catholic and I bash the CBCP on social media. I am a Catholic but I share fake news. I am a Catholic but I am not against corruption in government as long as they help the poor,” Villegas said.

    “As I look at our churches and chapels filled with devoted people during Holy Week, I ask myself “How many more of such faithful parishioners do we really have now?” he added.

    Earlier, Villegas said that attempts to silence the Church is one of three forms of persecution that has been in existence for the past 2,000 years.

    “Another type of persecution is to silence the Church. To tell the Church to keep quiet and not get involved in anything that is not in manner of speaking religious. So the Church should not engage in politics, in culture in business and in whatever form,” he said.

    But the prelate stressed that it is not in the nature of the Church to keep quiet because doing so is a betrayal of its mission.

    “As Catholics, we believe that we share in the suffering of the Lord. But here is also an unnecessary suffering because it violates human rights, it violates the honor of God, glory of God. The unnecessary suffering we want to resist,” he said.

    He pointed out that the separation of Church and State is a mandate of the Philippine Constitution but there is no such thing in Church law that prohibits it from guiding the people on the political situation.

    “Separation of Church and State is good for the State and it is good for the Church. But there should be no separation between God and human because when God is separated from man and man separated from God, man becomes the loser. God still stays as God but we become less human when we separate ourselves from God,” Villegas said.

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    17 Comments

    1. Defend what is right~!!!!. What is right to your opinion or wht is really right?. We should remember that opinion varies. It could be bad to you , but good to ohers We must think what is good for the majority..

    2. toniong kanin on

      Is Villegas fuming mad because donations from drug lords and gambling lords are dwindling plus the fact that their investment in mining is loosing money?

    3. The bad news for Villegas is, he can’t fool Catholics and he can’t tell them to look at morality as he sees it, not how they see it. This is not the time of the Spanish friars anymore and above all, Catholics nowadays don’t allow themselves to get dictated upon how to live their lives by the church heirarchy. Too presumptuous of Villegas to think he’s got the franchise on morality that he can freely dispense on the faithful. But he is of course right that the church hierarchy has of late become the punching bag of the parishioners and deservedly so. If Villegas is introspective enough and less hypocritical, he would know that he embodies exactly what is so despicable of the church hierarchy nowadays. .

      The Church is under persecution and this is the ripe season for martyrs and for glory and the persecution must be stopped. How poetic Villegas is.. One has to wonder though what he suggests then to put an end to his self-imagined persecution. It’s boggles the mind though how to connect what he said is “rebuffing Church morals and doctrines” to the spectacle of “seeing less priests and bishops reaching old age and more priests and bishops dying as martyrs at the prime of their lives”. Is Villegas under the influence or something? He seems to talk nonsense.

    4. Mr. Villegas, kakatapos lang po ng Holy Week. Didn’t you learn anything from the example of Jesus Christ? Though He was sinless, he did not defend Himself. He did not fight. He did not encourage His disciples to fight. He did His Father’s will for them, which was to accept the cross so that others may live.

      Frankly, you have not done even a quarter of what God expects of you, and that is to bring people into a saving relationship with God. You are so busy meddling with something that God did not assign for you to do. Sometimes, some things should be left for politicians to do.

      The problem is, you cannot even discern that human laws are recognized by God. Yes, there are times when we should defy human laws and that is when it goes against God’s commandment. Now that is tricky because the death penalty was instituted by God himself. It was a just punishment for those who disobeyed. God does not even frown on killing if it is in self defence. God is a God of order afterall and didn’t He say the consequence of sin is death? Read up on that and understand how God recognizes government authorities and punishment. He said that afterall, those who are obeying the laws have nothing to fear. Read Romans.

      Do not flatter yourselves. You are very far from being persecuted. I don’t even see you willing to die for what you believe in. And i strongly suspect that you do not even know what dying to self means. Just look at yourselves, you live in luxury, in an ivory tower, very far from reality.

      I do not even see an ounce of suffering from your faces. Mabuti pa yung mga pharisees nung araw, they wash themselves in ashes and pangiwi ngiwi sila pretending to be in suffering from their sacrifice or fasting. Kayo, ni hindi kayo nakakatikim ng

      Just because some people do not listen to you, it does not constitute persecution. Sabi nga ni Jesus, if people hate you, it should not be because you did something wrong. It should not be because people see you as thieves, adulterers,liars, etc. When people hate you, try to examine yourselves first. Have you been acting in Christlikeness or not? To do so, you must know Christ first. Unfortunately, you are also seen as the blind leading the blind.

      You are even seen as siding with evil and falsehoods, you just don’t know it because you, yourselves, do not know right from wrong. Many of your priests do not even know when a gift is already bribery. You don’t even know the meaning of prudence and modesty. You don’t even know compassion. We never see you visiting calamity victims, wakes for soldiers or policemen ; we don’t see you caring for their widows and orphans; we don’t see you disturbed by the sight of innocent victims mutilated or raped either by addicts or plain criminals; we don’t see you standing on behalf of the laborers and farmers, who for years have been subject to abuse. We don’t see you concerned for millions of out of school youth; we don’t hear you caring for families, how they battle brokenness and pain and poverty and drugs. You never even knew that illegal drugs was such a serious menace because if you have, it would have been nipped in the bud.

      But now, you want to deny that it is a problem . To deflect your own sin of omission, you put the blame another. You want to highlight the “wrongs” of a sinner thinking your self-righteousness will shine. It does not work that way. God sees and knows everything. He knows your heart. Don’t you remember the parable of the praying sinner and pharisee? Who’s prayer was more acceptable to God? The prayer of a repentant sinner or the prayer of the proud pharisee who said, “Thank you that i am not like him?”

      You want to uphold your rules and dogma as if that will set you apart from the rest as holy. If only you knew that God instituted laws because of love. Yes, love and compassion have always been the spirit behind the laws. Jesus had spoken about that so many times in the bible, especially when the pharisees were more concerned About Jesus healing on a Sabbath instead of being glad that a long suffering person was healed. In the same light, now that laws are being set for the protection of many, you still do not understand. You think the law of God is about being right, pure and holy. God Himself showed you through the parable of the Good Samaritan. Between the teacher of the law and the Samaritan, who did God appreciate for his love and compassion ?

      How about doing what God assigned you to do in the first place? Why don’t you obey the great commission to start with instead of “defending” your rights. See, he allowed almost all His apostles to be martyred. Those apostles knew first what it was to die to themselves. They did everyday that they were spreading the true gospel without pay. Thus, when martyrdom was in front of them, they no longer had fear.

      The problem with you is that you have a total disconnect with the world, with the people that should matter to you. You are all talk, talk, talk!

      Didn’t James say, “faith without action is dead”? No wonder it led Jesus to say ” Woe to you, teachers of law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful outside but on the inside are full of bones of the dead and everything unclean.” Matt.23:27

    5. Is Bishop Socrates Villegas and the CBCP into a hate campaign against PRRD? If not, why would he brought out the latter’s cursing of the Pope that happened over two years ago and for which PRRD have already apologized? Even the Pope had already forgiven him. I really think the Catholic church in the country has a problem. Seemingly, it is advancing self-righteousness than humility. I do not see persecution being wage against it. Nobody is going to be jailed or killed here in the Philippines because of his faith. Martyrs among priests here in our country isn’t going to happen.

    6. Bishop Villegas is somewhat a result of a heated brain, he cannot control and stop his hatred. You are a bad influence to the Church. Huwag sobrang epokrito. Mag tanong ka kung papano naging haven ng kriminalidad, korapsyon, at droga ang isang Katolikong bansa. Nag kulang ba ang simbahan ng pangaral?

    7. Bonifacio Claudio on

      The Bible says to be wary of FALSE PREACHERS who say God is HERE, God is THERE, I REPRESENT God,GOD SPOKE to Me… These False Preachers take the NAME OF THE LORD thy God — IN VAIN. These False Preachers take the Name of the Lord for their MATERIAL GAINS by meddling, undermining, and trying to make submissive to their whims and caprices The Government OF MEN, BY MEN, AND FOR MEN. The Church wallowed in riches and power, like the Oligarchs, by clinging to the government, like leeches sucking the lifeblood of flesh.

    8. I am a Catholic and calls Bishop Villegas, “Politician in Robe”. I also demand that Villegas must resign from CBCP because he is destroying the Catholic church. Villegas supports the Elitist Oligarchy and insist the faithfuls must remain enslaved cowards, robed, rape, murdered by the rich powerful criminals. NO problem for Bishop Villegas as long he is showered by money of the Elites. Villegas is devi1 supporter of evi1 criminals. Bishop Villegas is corrupt as corrupt politician.

    9. retired kriminal on

      Archbishop Villegas addressed his Easter Message to the Bishops and Priests, as well as to the Catholics who are watching silently, while the government is killing drug suspects. He is also concerned about the imposition of death penalty, making mockery of the catholic church, and rebuffing the church’s morals and teachings. Yes indeed, the church’s morals and teachings has somewhat deteriorated because some priests and bishops have children, and few of them have two or three wives simultaneously. These practices by priests and bishops are contrary to the teaching of church, such as love of family and love of your fellow human beings.

    10. The Church is persecuted? Don’t use the church to forward your hypocrital ambition. You want the government to bow to your beckon even if you know that the church has become partisan thanks to you clergymen who do nothing but to engage in politics. Funny for you to say that the church is persecuted with its billions of assets and cash deposits tax exempt being used to destroy administrations it doesn’t like.

    11. bishop villegas wag mo naman kami digtahan sa aming gustong mangyari sa ating lipunan sawang sawa na kami sa mga kahibangan ng mga pari na huwad sa katotohanan, naaawa kayo sa mga pusher at addict na pumapatay pero hindi kayo naaawa sa mga nabibiktima ng mga pusher at drug addict na napapatay nila. ano ba talaga ang totoo at gusto ninyo mangyari at bakit against na against kayo kung may napapatay na mga drug addict at pusher. yung mga taong na nagsisimba hindi kayong mga pari ang pinupuntahan kung di ay tahanan ng diyos.baka akala niyo marami pa ang naniniwala sa inyo. sana maging totoo kayo at wag kayong makihalo sa pulitika. amen

      • Sa aming catoliko yun ang katuruan. Kung hindi ka katoliko, mind your own business kasi di kami nakikialam sa inyong paniniwala..Kung katoliko ka naman at hindi mo kayang sundin ang katuruan puwes lumayas ka s pagkatoliko..kung ayaw mong lumayas wag kang bastos sa ating mga pinunong katoliko…kasi kung nagsisimba ka eversince noong maliit ka dapat alam mong ang katuruan ng katoliko ay hindi nagbabago

    12. Jovelyn Rojas on

      A very touching and appropriate message. Let us be Catholics in words and in deeds.Resist evil.

      • What are the things we should do to resist evil?
        Of course the answer is also in the Bible, where we could find the word evil. Normally, the priest will tell us what to do. But what if they are telling us differently. At this Age of Computers, gone are the days where there is no access to The Bible. Every smart phone can install a Bible app and it is available in most bookstore. The bible is also translated in every language for a reader to understand.
        Uncontested, one of the unusual practice that the Catholic Church allows is the kissing, praying, idolizing of a statue of whoever they declared sanctified. Now my brother open your bible and read the 2nd commandment. You can find it the Book of Exodus. Meditate the verse day and night. Then my brother defend what is right. FYI, I am also a Catholic but everything changes when I started reading the Bible.