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CBCP head asks bishops to reach out to people they have offended

/ 08:14 PM January 25, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines appealed to his fellow church leaders on Saturday to serve the poor and reach out even to their critics.

“Reach out sincerely to the distant poor and the wayward children of God,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas told the bishops in a speech during the opening of a biannual plenary assembly of the CBCP on Saturday.

He cautioned the bishops against creating “more circles of elite and closed-in lay groups sometimes called mandated organizations.”

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Over 100 bishops from different dioceses across the country attended the assembly, which is to run until Jan. 27 at the Pope Pius XII Center on UN Avenue in Manila.

Villegas urged the prelates to reach out to those who are angry at them and critical of the Catholic Church.

“The Year of the Laity is not only for the supportive and loyal laity but for the critical and distant ones, more importantly those who disagreed with us on the RH law, those who hurl accusations at us fairly or unfairly,” Villegas said.

“We need to reach out to those who are angry at us bishops, those we have disillusioned and those we have misled or confused by our excessive misplaced prudence or unbecoming lifestyle,” he said.

The Catholic Church has strongly opposed the recently signed Reproductive Health Law and has been instrumental in the filing of a petition questioning the law in the Supreme Court, which has issued the status quo order preventing the law’s implementation.

The Catholic leader encouraged his fellow bishops to be more contemplative in their prayers and actions.

“It is from this contemplative starting point that we can look at the recent happenings in our country. We cannot look at the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda and the massive destruction wrought by the earthquake in Bohol from the eyes of CNN or ANC,” he said, noting that the faithful must look at the tragedies “with the eyes of God.”

He likened the lack of contemplation of the bishops to “shabu,” local slang for the narcotic drug methamphetamine hydrochloride.

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“If contemplation does not lead to action for justice and charity, it might have really become the shabu of the bishops, an addictive flight from reality,” he said.

The bishops will tackle Church matters and other national concerns, including the rehabilitation of areas hit by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in the three-day assembly.

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TAGS: bishops, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Catholic Church, CBCP, CBCP biannual plenary assembly
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