Heed CBCP’s Villegas: Resist the moral wrong

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THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines began its 113th plenary assembly on Saturday at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, in Manila, with a stirring opening address by CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas. The assembly ends today.

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Directed mainly to the more than 100 bishops in attendance, the address should also apply to all the Filipino Catholic faithful, who comprised 80 percent of our country’s population. For the address contains exhortations that ought to apply to every Filipino, not only Catholics, for it dwells on the social ills of our society.

Bishop Villegas reiterated the Catholic Church’s vow “to resist the moral wrong” and the bishops’ vow and duty to stand up against what is wrong and express the teachings of the Church even if in a “hostile wilderness.”

He reminded the bishops of the importance of the Church’s critical collaboration and dialogue with the secular world, so the bishops should always courageously express the Church’s teachings even in the face of hostility because, after all, “our call is not to be successful but to be faithful.”

“We will teach, even if it seems like ours is a voice in a hostile wilderness, till the day we die, that right is right and wrong is wrong and we will not withdraw from the mission of the Lord,” Villegas said.

He urged his fellow prelates to be more active than they are now in defense of what is morally right and combating the morally wrong.

He reaffirmed the Catholic bishops’ vows: “We will stand and defend every person’s life and dignity. We will shield the weak from harm. We will protect the confused from error.”

He warned the bishops that “the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate wrong teachings and stop listening to the truth and be diverted to myths.” This is why the bishops should constantly be steadfast in their eagerness to proclaim the Church’s true doctrines.

Villegas at one point recalled how, when the people needed to be supported in insisting on justice against the will of the “Marcos dictatorship…We were consulted as bishops; we were heard and respected. Our recommendations were mostly heeded.”

But then after the 1986 People Power revolution, when the focus was on socio-economic concerns, the people largely ignored the voice of the Church. This led to an even more dramatic twist in the path the people (and government) were following, the passage against the Church’s (and of course the bishops’) objections to the passage of the Reproductive Health Law, which has boosted the will of those in authority to promote artificial birth control methods and will surely lead to the acceptance of abortion as in Western countries.

“It felt like we were voices in the wilderness proclaiming a teaching that our people could not identify with. Our pastoral letters were unheeded, mocked and ignored,” he said.

“We were speaking a language that our flock could not understand. When we appealed for morality, our people laughed at vulgarity. When we challenged indecency, we were despised and ridiculed as archaic.

“When we preached about marriage and family life, we were dismissed as uninformed bachelors. We are called shameless hypocrite children of whores.”

Villegas reminded his fellow bishops that the wilderness is also for purification and prayer. “The wilderness beckons us to stay with the Lord and return to the essentials. The wilderness tests our readiness for martyrdom,” the CBCP president said.

“While the Church’s may be a voice gone hoarse proclaiming Christ in the wilderness with only a handful listening,” it is in the wilderness, he said, that “the best in us shines forth.”

“I charge you proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient, to convince, reprimand, encourage.”

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7 Comments

  1. I think Archbishop Villegas wants also to engage in politics. Yes Philippines is 80% catholics but those numbers really practice the teaching of the catholic church. I grew up as a catholic and was raised in catholic school. I could recall the harshness I endured as a devoted catholic. I was made to kneel down in the flagpole for playing shooting {basketball} while the rest of my fellow student were struggling to finish the semestral exam. I finished the test in flying colors. I received a lot of academic achievement during high school but in the end of the secondary school I was told that I cannot be on the valedectorian slot because I failed to finish my third grade because I was so sick and was not able to take so many so called semestral test that will qualify me to ascend to the nest level. I told them my life and my struggle to have a higher education does not end there. I finished my college education and had a meaningful livelihood. Looking back those days and compared where I am now and those that were crowned as veledectorian because they are son of professional and have ontributed more than my family to the catholic institution I find myself more fortunate because I finished trhe race while they don’t. The moral lesson I would like to tell Archbishop Villegas is please let the one time suspended catholic student our Presdent Mr Duterte do his job to clean up the society of misguided catholics. Maybe you and your fellow priest will go around and preach to those who were astray from your teachings. With that in mind maybe it will help instead of condenming the one who trying to correct the wrong.

  2. Amen… Our duty is not to be successful, but to be faithful… We do not belong to the world, thus it is normal that the world will hate us… People laughed and mocked Noah, until the great flood came, and their laughing and mocking had turned into crying, and they started to shout and cry for the Lord’s help, but it was too late… Philippines will remember God and his statutes when the great flood be upon us…

  3. Rizalito David on

    Drug users and pushers are menace to society and should therefore be eliminated preferably by summary execution or extrajudicial methods. And I say with conviction that the idiots who support such reasoning and tolerate injustice deserve to be eliminated twice over. They should be shot in the head not only once but twice! Idiocy, conscious or not, is more menacing to humanity than drug addiction. Just a famous gladiator would say, “KILL THEM ALL!”

  4. Yes, the hypocrisy among these church leaders reeks to high heavens. You have no moral authority to dictate on State matters. The State looks after all Filipinos, not all of whom are Catholics. The RCC and its bishops cannot and should not impose their theology on all Filipinos. We are in the 21st century already and far removed from the Spanish era when the RCC called the shots. Look at all colonized countries where the RCC ran rampant – all messed up, with the exception of Cuba.

  5. Lol we are better of what? Under ur friend Ferdinand Marcos there were a lot of salvaging. Under ur enemy pnoy u complained about drugs and corruption flourishing now that there is crackdown on crime with dugong u still don’t want it. What do u want then.

  6. You never fought against drugs, gambling, trafficking and their lords and now you want to have warching eyes over those who are addressing them. You should look at how neglectful & morally wrong you have been.