Day of prayer for those who blaspheme, murder
Catholic bishops have called on the Filipino faithful to pray and do penance today for people who had blasphemed God and murdered others.
The bishops’ call for a day of prayer and penance was part of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) pastoral exhortation last week that criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, including the crackdown on loiterers and drug war killings, and dealt with the President’s fulminations against the Church and the killings of priests and abuses of the clergy.
“On July 16, 2018, on the feast of the Blessed Mother of Mount Carmel … let us spend a day of prayer and penance, invoking God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country,” read part of the letter signed by CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.
Without naming the President, who attacked several teachings of the Catholic faith and even called God “stupid,” the bishops admonished those “who arrogantly regard themselves as wise.”
In their exhortation, the bishops invoked St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians to respond to individuals who “regard the Christian faith as nonsense” and “blaspheme God as stupid.”
“St. Paul’s words are to the point: ‘For the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength,’” the letter read.
Valles also invited the faithful to three more days of fasting and almsgiving from July 17 to 19.
The two-page pastoral exhortation entitled “Rejoice and Be Glad,” which was issued after the bishops’ 117th plenary assembly last week, was read in churches in Metro Manila during Masses last Saturday and yesterday.
The letter urged Filipino Catholics “to remain steadfast in our common vocation and mission to actively work for peace… in these times of darkness, when there’s so much hatred and violence, when murder has become an almost daily occurrence, when people have gotten so used to exchanging insults and hurting words in the social media.”
Meanwhile, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, in a post on his Facebook account, assured bereaved families of victims of relentless killings that God is with them amid their sufferings.
‘God is not stupid’
In a post titled “God is not stupid; the relentless killings are,” David shared his homily for the funeral Mass of 18-year-old college student Jhan Cyrell Ignacio, who was killed along with 31-year-old Jobert Cabigo by bonnet-clad gunmen a few days ago in Tinajeros, Malabon City.
Neither Ignacio nor Cabigo ever had any criminal record before they were brutally murdered by the unidentified assailants, David said.
“At the homily, I focused my reflection on the painful reproach Mary of Bethany had uttered to Jesus in John 11: “If only you were here, my brother would not have died.”
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