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Bishops: No strong statement on impeachment

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 06:45 AM January 30, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said its plenary council won’t make a “strong” statement on the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona but may exhort the faithful to pray for the senators who are trying the case.

“Unlike in past CBCP [meetings], where we felt the people were expecting a strong statement [from us], this time we feel that the sentiment of the people in general is that they trust that the Senate will do its job,” said CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in an interview with reporters Friday.

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The CBCP Plenary Council is the highest decision-making body of the Catholic Church hierarchy in the Philippines. The three-day assembly attended by more than 100 bishops across the country at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila is the first under the new leadership.

Palma took over as the head of the Church hierarchy in December after Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar’s two-year term ended.

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Bishops trust the process

“Don’t expect us to issue a strong statement. If ever, there will be exhortations to prayer but not as if we are evaluating the process because this is the work of the law,” stressed Palma.

The new CBCP president added that the impeachment trial may not even be discussed in their biannual assembly since the bishops, in general, trust the process and believe that the senators are doing a good job so far.

The impeachment trial, said Palma, was in the “realm of laws” and the bishops, without such expertise, could not evaluate actions of those involved in the trial.

“We, the bishops, see that the senators are doing good…the ball is in their hands,” said Palma, adding that they were confident that, with the expertise of the senators, particularly Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, “it will come to a resolution.”

But the bishops would continue praying for the senators’ enlightenment, he added.

Instruments of unity

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At the opening of the plenary council meeting on Saturday, Palma reminded the assembly that the bishops should be instruments of unity and reconciliation in the country.

In his speech, however, he said “there are dark clouds in the sky” with the “confrontations” among the main branches of the government. “[It] make[s] us wish we are not stuck with pinning the guilty but instead are now marching and collaborating with each other to implement laws and programs that bring about growth and development.”

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TAGS: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, CBCP, CBCP Plenary Council, CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Corona impeachment trial
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