Church does not condone ivory smuggling—CBCP


Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. Photo from

MANILA, Philippines—Amid a controversy involving a Cebu priest allegedly connected to illegal ivory trade, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Wednesday said the Catholic Church does not condone ivory smuggling even if in the past it was a main ornament used for liturgical worship.

In a statement on Wednesday, CBCP President Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma stressed that while ivory artifacts crafted long before the ban were considered the cultural heritage of the Church, it was not encouraging the use of ivory for new implements.

“Let it be made clear that the Church supports the ban on ivory as it is consistent with her doctrine on stewardship of creation,” said Palma, a co-signatory in a petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) calling for the transfer of Manila Zoo’s lone elephant, “Mali” to a sanctuary in Thailand.

His statement was posted on the website of the Church-run Radio Veritas on Wednesday.

According to an article published by the National Geographic magazine and written by Bryan Christy, the demand for religious icons made from ivory is the cause of thousands of elephants being killed every year.

The investigative report, titled “Ivory Worship,” also included revelations by Msgr. Cristobal Garcia, the head of the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Commission on Worship, on the illegal trade.

“The principles stated above should guide us in resolving the matter concerning the alleged involvement of Msgr. Garcia in the illegal ivory trade, always bearing in mind the right of the person concerned for a fair and just hearing,” said Palma.

He also added that the account given by NatGeo should be assessed as to its veracity, “considering that the article smacks of bias against religious practices.”

As for Garcia’s past—having been accused of sexually abusing two youths in the 1980s while working in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles—the case has been elevated to the Vatican, which has already initiated an investigation long before the present controversy erupted, according to Palma.

“I have also fulfilled the Holy See’s instructions regarding the submission of documents and acting upon related consequences,” said the senior prelate, noting that the Church was fully aware of the gravity of the crime of pederasty.

“In recent pronouncements, the Church has stated her regret for the failure to address the problem in a more decisive and effective way. Cultural practices have contributed to the misunderstanding of the problem,” he added.

Palma also pointed out clarifications on claims made by the author of the NatGeo report on the supposed perception of religious icons among Filipinos.

He said that while it was true that icons were being venerated by Filipino Catholics, the Church does not teach that these icons is God or the saints themselves.

He said such veneration was only a means to tangibly express faith in God and devotion to the saints. “Any encouragement promoting such idolatry is contrary to Church belief and must be purified,” added Palma.

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  • patriotic_act

    let the anti-catholics begin..

    • marionics

      careful what you wish for hahaha

      • patriotic_act

        im actually pertaining to the people who will barrage this news thread with comments.. 

        I did not wish for it by the way.. merely setting the stage for it since not doing so will result into a paradox

      • marionics

        did you not see that it was an irony?

      • patriotic_act

        I did, but I chose not to

    • jhoric

      You mean is it payback time? You know during the Spanish inquisition period if you own a bible, the priests will burn you alive together with the bible. The Church poured thousands and thousands innocent blood

      • patriotic_act

        its more kinda like the law of the universe.. poetic justice or something

      • John

        Actually its not just the spanish inquisition.. its the roman catholic inquisition as a whole.. the killed people accuse of being witches, scientist, jews, muslims and just possession of a bible..

  • dikoy321

    Archbishop Palma can go ahead and SURRENDER those ivory icons in Garcia’s collections!
    What is he waiting for?
    For a beam of light from elsewhere?

    Let the corrupt suffer!

  • Paliwaweng

    Padre, sabihin mo yan sa National Geographic correspondent na nagbulgar ng katiwalian nyo. At ng Vatican.

  • Roman

     So Msgr. Garcia, aside from being a mass murderer of elephants, is also a pedophile. That priest should be kicked out from priesthood.

  • Paliwaweng

    “considering that the article smacks of bias against religious practices.” Archbishop Palma. I found the article not biased against religious practices. It is biased agains illegal acts and poachers who hunt because of high demand on elephant ivories. It was alleged too, that Vatican did not sign the movement in conservation of elephants.The Vatican would have bee the first to reprimand or charge the writer or the National Geographic for libel if the article was a lie or full of biases.
    Hindi mo sila mauunahan Padre, kung mali ang nasabing ulat.

  • regd

    This just proves that 99% of the bishops give all the rest a bad name.

  • blueisland_17

    lahat ba ng ginagamit sa paggawa ng mga Catholic icons ay mula sa mga pinapatay na elepante?..xempre hindi..puede nman galing sa mga namatay na in natural kailangan ba talagang patayin ang elepante dahil lang sa tusks nito kung tutuusin nasa labas nman ito at puede nmang putulin lang..kung gusto nilang pagkakitaan mga elepante dahil sa ivory…magbreed nlng sila at antayin na mamatay saka kunin at ibenta ang mga tusks ni2…cguro aapela pa ang PETA nyan…ilibing ang elepante ng buo…si Mali dapat sa Pinas nlng yan…kasi gurang na din sya..mahirapan na syang mag adjust.. hayaan natin na  makakaexperience mga bata makakita  ng buhay na elepante sa park….kung mamatay sya idisplay ang assembled na skeleton ni2 sa national museum..

    • John

      Average lifespan of elephant is 70years.. Look at it this way, kung ikaw elephant, papayag ka putulin yung tusk mo? u might need it..

    • john_constantine

      I google mo kasi: “How important are tusks to elephants?”.

       Dahil ba nasa labas ng katawan pwede na putulin?

  • $19750267

    katulad rin yan ng ”JUETENG”…   ang sabi ng gobyerno di daw nila kinukunsinte ang malawakang operasyon ng ”JUETENG” sa bansa…  pero marami satin kasama ng mga KA-PARIAN ng SIMBAHANG KATOLIKO.. na nakikinabang ang GOBYERNO at maraming OPISYAL ang PROTEKTOR NITO. 

  • vir_a

    What’s happening to the church and our bishops?

    • Steven Zahl

      The church has been Abusive for centuries, it is now that they are EXPOSED.

  • To_Be_Continued

    PALM said: “Such veneration (referring to images made of ivory or not) was only a means to tangibly express faith in God and devotion to the saints. Any encouragement promoting such idolatry is contrary to Church belief and must be purified.”

    Isn’t this a very clear double talk? Bluntly described, it’s an oxymoronic statement. The first sentence contradicting the second… and vice versa.

    • ampyrms

      Yup, you hit it hard in the head! The Catholic church, in the Philippines in particular, knows that idolatry is a sin, and yet you can see that they don’t correct it. Look at how they let pass the tradition of carrying and worshipping images in churches like that in Quiapo for example. Why??? Your guess is good as mine…

    • jpmd88

      Such a double standard.  If it is a woman collecting expensive shoes and bags it is called a luxury however priests collecting ivory statues its called devotion.

      So pathetic

  • To_Be_Continued

    As for Garcia having been accused of sexually abusing two youths in the 1980s…

    PALMA said: “The case has been elevated to the Vatican, which has already initiated an investigation…I have also fulfilled the Holy See’s instructions regarding the submission of documents and acting upon related consequences… the Church was fully aware of the gravity of the crime of pederasty.”

    What a well-sweetened coverup statement. Any knowledge of criminal act, specially sexual abuse MUST be reported to the police coupled with filing of CRIMINAL charges–not simply reported to the pope.

    Archbishop Palma, what if the abused youth is your sibling, nephew, niece. What if it was done to you during your youth?

    No wonder, in the US and Europe alone, settlement on cases involving sexual predator priest has reached a billion dollar mark with about 10,000 victims reported and well documented. The reason, The church heirarchy is busy as a bee covering up criminal complaints  and transfering guilty priests from one parish to another instead of reporting them to authorities…

    Talking of moral preachers…

    • Rowie

      The sexual abuse incident was committed in Los Angeles, USA. A settlement was already agreed upon two decades ago.

      I cannot understand why we should report it to the local police now as what you are alluding.

      • To_Be_Continued

        Because he needs to be locked up in a monkey house. What is your proof that he victimized only 2 boys? Do you live with him? Watch the movie DELIVER US FROM EVIL and you will have a n in depth knowledge how pervert priests like Garcia prey on their victims. Watch this before you talk any further. It will give you a rude awakening.

      • angie1875

        Why did the diocese give him a position here? Did he molest anyone here? Or maybe it was also “settled”.

  • sam_aquino

    “Church does not condone ivory smuggling—CBCP”

    yeah, right…  you do not condone, but do you condemn???  let us hear it from you, CBCP…

    this priest is an embarrassment to your faith…

  • Kim

    Mathew 7:15…may damit tupa, datapwa’t sa loob ay mga lobong maninila.

  • To_Be_Continued

    Anyone with access to Netflix is encouraged to watch the docu-movie DELIVER US FROM E VIL.

    The movie is described as  an “unsettling Oscar-nominated documentary  examines the life of pedophilia Father Oliver O’Grady and exposes the corruption inside the Catholic Church. ”

    It is also very much widespread in the Philippines…you just start asking around… truth is more than enough to make one puke. It will tear you apart…

  • ampyrms

    It’s sad but it’s the truth, the Catholic church just let the believers go on with idolatry practices so as to keep the people in the mold of the church. They just turn their heads the opposite way and pretend not to see that the people are already praising the man made images instead of God. All they care is the tithing they get at the expense of the disillusioned parishioners. Exodus chapter 20, verses 4-5 states “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or the earth below or in the waters beneathe the earth; you shall not bow down before them, or worship them.” Time to wake up fellow Catholics, we won’t be save by staying ignorant.

  • jpmd88

    They don’t condone smuggling but they turn a blind eye to their own kind that have a penchant for collecting the expensive stuff.  Wow!
    This is not the catholic church I once knew I feel sorry for the church. :(

  • Edwin Edwin

    Its a shame. Imagine, the head of the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Commission on Worship is the subject. Kaya maraming mga Catholics na ang umaalis ay dahil sa mga kalokohan ng Catholic Church priests and others…

  • Jomex

    just jail the pedophile and illegal smuggler priest!!! no apologies needed!

  • Donardo Cuago


  • john_constantine

    CBCP does not condone it.  They just create the demand for it.

  • Steven Zahl

    HULI KAYO!!!!

  • Ommm

    Imagining some pedophile priest having these magnificent animals killed to adorn religious icons is about the best definition one could imagine to describe this dying religion of the dark ages….

    Please UN-CONFIRM  ME NOW!!!!!

  • Snap LoyolaAlum

    Also in regard to a priest and criminal activity, Fr. Angel Crisostomo Mariano, 55 a transvestite Jesuit priest from the Philippines, was one of 5 Jesuits caught up in a sexual abuse scandal. As many as 5 Jesuits allegedly abused two disabled lifetime employees of the Jesuit Order at the Jesuit retirement home in Los Gatos, California. The Jesuit Order paid $7 million and thus avoided a trial.

    Fr. Mariano was also convicted after a report of oral sex with a 17-year-old boy he met via an Internet chat room where Fr. Mariano posed as a woman. Mariano spent five months in jail.

    Fr. Thomas Smolich was a two-year roommate of Fr. Angel Mariano. Smolich is now the top USA Jesuit with an office in Washington, DC. Fr. Mariano likes to cook.

    Fr. Angel Crisostomo Mariano may have returned to the Philippines. Since sex offenders rarely have only one victim, the Jesuit Order needs to disclose where Fr. Mariano is now and whether Mariano is still a priest.

  • ryan andres

    Yeah, and you boy lovers don’t condone pedophilia either. Yet you still do it.

    You can “not condone” anything but still do what it is that you do not condone. That is who you are and what you do, CBCP. Corrupt Bayotshops Cuntference of the Philippines.

  • Hein S

    But church condones CHILD RAPISTS – CBCP

  • josedin

    does not condone, e anong ginagawa nyo? magsasalita lang sa press, tapos na?

  • RobertoMagtuytoy

    Does not condone?  Do you really need to say it in public?  

  • Camillo

    According to the NatGeo article: 

    “The Vatican has recently demonstrated a commitment to confronting transnational criminal problems, signing agreements on drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. But it has not signed the CITES treaty and so is not subject to the ivory ban.”

    Yan ba ang not condoning?

  • Hey_Dudes

    These bunch of hypocrites may, until they are black and blue in their faces sweep this stench inside their robes all they want and pretend it is not embarrassing.  Truth is, it is not only embarrassing to themselves but equally more severe to the image of the country.  All along these bunch of hypocrites have been picturing themselves as the image of squeaky clean blackmailing anyone who will stand in their way right or wrong.  Case in point – their objection to the RH bill which in many instances even resorting to misinformation and threatening politicians who will vote for it.

    At the same time, while involving themselves in issues that matters  most to the Filipinos than to them, their own backyard is full of filth and stench they have been sweeping under the rug for 20 years? Tell us, how many pedophile priest are in jails right now?  Hypocrites of the highest kind these are.

  • ben311

    what do you condone? child molestations !

  • ben311

    etchos !

  • Hein S

    CBCP and the church protecting the CHILD RAPISTS again.

    • eric_santiago1

       no! according to garcia he was the one who was actually “seduced and raped” by the boys! lol!

  • AllaMo

    Among others, the Church only condones gloria macapagal arroyo, imelda marcos and, their breed and ilk’s perfidy.

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