Bishop seeks prayers vs death penalty
DAGUPAN CITY—Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Monday called on the Catholic faithful in his diocese to “come together in prayer and express their resistance” to the proposed restoration of the death penalty.
“The death penalty bill is being pushed for approval in Congress before Christmas. What a tragedy if this would be passed in this holy season of Christ’s birth,” Villegas said in a circular posted in the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese website.
“The death penalty is ‘prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ The death penalty is contrary to our Catholic moral life,” he said.
Last week, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the bill on the reimposition of the death penalty was a House priority measure, and may be passed before the Christmas break of Congress.
In 2006, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed a law that downgraded to life imprisonment the penalty for offenses punishable by death. The House justice committee will start deliberating on the death penalty bill that has been approved by its subpanel. After the committee’s approval, it will be brought to the plenary for debates.
In all Masses scheduled on Dec. 10 and 11, Catholics in the diocese are asked to offer the prayer against the death penalty instead of the prayers of the faithful, Villegas said.
The Archiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, one of Pangasinan’s three dioceses, has 33 parishes under its five vicariates in the central part of the province.
Villegas also directed the ringing of church bells for 15 minutes ar 6 p.m. from Dec. 10 to 12. “This is a conscience call to stand up for life,” he said.
He urged all Catholic schools, social action ministers, catechists, and youth and lay leaders to encourage Catholics to attend a prayer rally for life on Dec. 12 at Parish of St. Dominic in San Carlos City.
The rally will take place after a 3 p.m. Mass at the parish church, to be followed by a march against the death penalty around the city plaza. A candle-lighting memorial prayer for all the victims of violence at the city plaza will cap the protest action.
“In resisting the threat of the restoration of the death penalty, we cannot be disunited or indifferent. On this prolife issue let us truly unite,” Villegas said. —GABRIEL CARDINOZA
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