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Bishop slams ‘Maute’ for destroying cathedral, holy images in Marawi

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña – Photo from the CBCP Online, the official website of the CBCP at http://www.cbcponline.net/bishops/bishops/pena_dela.html

MANILA — A Catholic bishop based in Mindanao slammed the Maute terrorist group’s destruction of a cathedral and religious statues in its siege of Marawi City.

Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña condemned the perpetrators’ act of burning the church and smashing statues of the crucified Jesus Christ and Mama Mary as trampling on the Catholic faith.

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“That is blasphemy! It’s unacceptable. It’s obvious that their actions are really out of this world. It’s demonic,” he said in an article posted on the news website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

A video, which was one minute and 36 seconds long, was posted on Monday on the Facebook page, “Duterte Ang Pagbabago.”

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The clip showed armed men going on a rampage inside the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City.

The men were seen stomping and destroying the images of Jesus Christ, Mary, St. Joseph and even tearing up posters of Pope Francis.

Parts of the church were seen being set ablaze by the perpetrators, some only teenagers.

The Maute group, which claims to be affiliated with the Islamic State, captured Marawi City two weeks ago and has continuously engaged government troops who are fighting to regain control.

De la Peña said they received information that the group was planning to destroy and burn the church even before the siege of Marawi City.

“We are angered by what happened. Our faith has really been trampled on,” the prelate lamented.

De la Peña admitted that they did not think that the attack on St. Mary’s Cathedral would happen even though they received a tip prior to the attack.

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“But we didn’t take it seriously because for us it was unthinkable that it’s going to happen in Marawi City,” he said.

Fr. Teresito Suganob, the vicar general of the prelature of Marawi, church workers and church goers were abducted at the start of the siege last May 23.

Last week, a video of Suganob pleading with President Duterte to halt the military offensives in Marawi City circulated on social media.  SFM/rga

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