As prelates oppose arming clergymen, martial arts seen as alternative
The proposal to arm priests was widely thumbed down by prelates, but they welcome martial arts as an alternative.
Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona strongly opposed the proposal to issue firearms to priests even if only to protect themselves from assailants such as the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Even Jesus Christ’s life was always in peril, but he was never armed,” Tirona told reporters in a chance interview on Monday.
But when asked by reporters if martial arts is a possible alternative, the archbishop said he is open to the idea.
“That’s okay, that’s possible. You also have to defend yourself, but of course that’s a preventive [measure]. A priest can’t be Superman or Spiderman when there’s trouble,” he said.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace, said arming priests is a “huge contradiction” to their faith because firearms are used to kill people unlike martial arts.
“It would be a huge contradiction because (a firearm) is an instrument of killing,” said Gariguez. “We (clergymen) are ready to die, even if it was my life on the line. That’s the life of a priest, that’s the life of Jesus. Of course, you have to be careful, too. So martial arts is possible,” he said. /ee
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