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‘How can we claim to be Catholics but accept drug killings?’

/ 01:55 PM January 17, 2017

How can some Filipinos profess to be Catholics but at the same time approve of the spate of killings in the guise of the government’s bloody war against illegal drugs?

For Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, the faith of most Filipinos is a dichotomy—in which one “believes in the faith but does not practice it.”

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“Despite the teaching of the Church, we are a country where our faith is a dichotomy. We believe in it, but we do not practice our faith,” the prelate said on Tuesday.

Quevedo made the comment in a press briefing in Manila on the second day of the fourth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM 4), where he was one of the speakers.

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His statement was in reference to the observation that some Catholics have expressed approval of President Rodrigo Duterte’s aggressive and bloody campaign against illegal drugs in the past year.

Almost 6,000 Filipinos have been killed so far in legitimate police operations and in summary executions of drug suspects whose guilt or innocence has not yet been proven by the courts.

Bishops such as Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas have criticized the extrajudicial killings though not in his capacity as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Quevedo said he admired Duterte’s determination to end criminality, particularly the illegal drug menace, in the country.

He noted that some Filipinos seem to be in favor of the bloody war against illegal drugs despite the high death toll, “so as long as illegal drugs are stamped out, no matter what happens.”

The Cotabato archbishop attributed this to the Filipinos’ desperation for a solution to the country’s problems.

“Corruption is in government offices, but there are 80 percent of Catholics in government. If there’s corruption and murder, it’s because Filipinos do not practice their faith,” Quevedo said.

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He added: “This dichotomy is a ‘split-level’ type of Christianity. Our faith is in one level and the other level is daily life, they do not jive.”

He warned that “the approval of many despite the extra-judicial killings is a symptom of split level spirituality.”

Quevedo noted that the WACOM 4’s purpose is two-fold: to deepen one’s love for Jesus as the God of Mercy, and to understand and carry out His mission of compassion and mercy especially for sinners and society’s outcasts.

“Mercy and compassion is not merely a feeling or sentiment. It is an active virtue of reaching out to those who need mercy and compassion,” he explained.

This year’s WACOM has the theme “Communion in Mercy, Mission in Mercy” and will gather almost 6,000 delegates from 40 countries and 60 archdioceses and dioceses all over the world.

READ: Foreign delegates concerned over EJKs

It is a five-day gathering of Catholic faithful which aims to accelerate the culture of mercy in the Catholic Church and all over the world.

Quevedo, in explaining the idea of “split-level” Christianity, also quoted a priest as saying that “we are saints on Sundays, but devils the rest of the week.”

He clarified that this dichotomy or trait is not exclusive to Filipinos but is seen in other Catholics all over the world.

Asked to comment on the supposed “deafening silence” of the Catholic Church on the issue of extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals, Quevedo said this is a “silence as perceived by media.”

He explained that the CBCP has made it clear to bishops that they can issue pastoral statements, while lay people are encouraged to act in collaboration with bishops and priests.

One should think of the Church as made up not only of bishops and priests, but also lay people, he said.

“There was a deliberate choice on that issue, let the bishops and priests give moral guidance, while let the people act. When we wish action, it’s not on the part of the bishop to go to rallies, but encouraging people to make decisive and informed actions regarding issues,” Quevedo stressed. RAM/rga

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TAGS: archbishop, Catholics, extrajudicial killings, Filipinos, Illegal drugs
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