Listen to lay people, bishop urges Duterte
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday urged President Duterte to listen to the voice of the Filipino Catholics joining this Saturday’s Walk for Life in Manila.
“This is his constituency. It’s a big group. They are people who come from the parishes who want to speak,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
Pabillo, chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said the three-hour prayer rally at the Quirino Grandstand would draw lay people from all walks of life.
“His (Duterte) mandate was not only during the elections. He should listen to the lay people, these are the people from the grassroots,” the prelate said.
The Walk for Life was organized to demonstrate the lay people’s opposition to attempts at reinstating the death penalty, and the spate of extrajudicial killings amid the war against illegal drugs.
The Catholic Church has a strained relationship with Mr. Duterte, who has repeatedly attacked priests and bishops for what he called their hypocrisy over allegations of corruption and sexual abuse.
The Church has refused to reply to the President’s tirades, although the CBCP has issued separate pastoral statements against the extrajudicial killings and the death penalty.
CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas clarified that the Walk for Life was organized not by the Catholic bishops’ organization but by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines).
“This was started by lay leaders from the various dioceses and archdioceses all over the Philippines. After the pastoral letter, they said they want to do this and here are the bishops supporting you. It is not a CBCP initiative, it is a lay initiative supported by the bishops,” he said.
Villegas said there would be no Mass on Saturday, as participants would pray and walk from the Quirino Grandstand toward the Rizal Monument and back to the Quirino Grandstand.
“There will be no Mass, people will just pray and fill the streets with prayers… The streets should be kept safe and the streets should be filled with prayers, not with blood… We should feel safe going around the country,” the prelate said.
The CBCP president expressed hope that “there will be more people who would be disturbed every time a person is killed, because one brother or sister killed is already too much.”
The prayer rally will be held at the Quirino Grandstand from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Saturday, while other similar activities will be held in Dagupan, Pangasinan and Cebu.
In Iloilo, members of the Singles for Christ will offer a prayer on Friday night and a Mass on Saturday in solidarity with the Walk for Life in Manila.
Participants of the Walk for Life at the Quirino Grandstand come from as far as Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Laguna and other Luzon provinces.
Participants may register at the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas office in Intramuros, Manila, or through www.cbcplaiko.org.
The organizers of the event has urged members of the CBCP to wear white shirts, their group’s shirts, or the Walk For Life shirts which will cost P250 each. Proceeds will go to the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas’ projects and programs.
Donations may also be deposited to the Bank of the Philippine Islands Intramuros branch, savings account number 4953-0674-34, with the deposit slip to be faxed to 5273124 or e-mailed to [email protected]
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