Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Practice mercy, not flagellation — CBCP

Policemen join 150 drug surrenderees bring construction materials to Pilgrims’ Island at the Hundred Islands National Park yesterday. The group helped complete the 56-foot statue of Christ the Savior in time for the Lenten break. CESAR RAMIREZ

MANILA, Philippines - Catholic faithful need not make sacrifices like self-flagellation or crucifixion to fulfill their spiritual obligations this Holy Week, but only show mercy and compassion to their needy brothers and sisters.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a television interview Tuesday night that the best way to observe Holy Week is by doing charitable works like helping the poor and visiting the sick in hospital.

“Scriptures are clear, (God said) I do not desire sacrifice, it is mercy I desire and not sacrifice,” he said.

“This week is holy not because of the sacrifices we make. This week is holy because God has poured so much love into these days,” the prelate stressed.

Villegas suggested to the faithful to “make pilgrimage, visit churches, visit seven charity wards of hospitals and visit the sick people there and bring them something to eat as we usually do during Christmas.”

The prelate also advised Catholics to “be more patient with pains in the neck, be more forgiving (to) annoying people” as a way to show love for God.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“The Lord is pleased when we become merciful to our brothers and sisters,” he said.

He also explained that Catholics who want to atone for their sins may opt to help the poor instead.

“In Scriptures we say almsgiving covers a multitude of sins. So, if you really want to atone for your sins, help somebody in need. Somebody who cannot thank you – not just a relative or neighbor who knows you by name but somebody who won’t be able to thank you... help that person. That’s the sure way to receive forgiveness for your sins,” Villegas said.

The CBCP head also reiterated the Church’s objection to activities like self-flagellation or crucifixion.

“It’s no longer necessary to shed blood because the shedding of blood is completely done by Jesus Christ for us. We don’t have to hurt ourselves anymore because we cannot add to the merit of Christ’s passion,” he lamented.

Villegas said even fasting alone is not a good practice during the Lenten season.

“Fasting in itself is not good. Fasting only becomes good when you save what you have fasted on and then share it with others. Because if you don’t eat on Good Friday and you have extra food on Black Saturday, that is not fasting, that is saving,” he explained.

While the Church has prescribed how to spend the Holy Week, Villegas urged the faithful not to be judgmental of others who opt not to observe it.

“I won’t judge a family that goes to (the) beach right away as being unholy,”  if the family has lived separately and decided to spend the long weekend to bond.

“The God I know tells me that when a family grows together in love and compassion, God becomes happy. You can go to the beach yes, but don’t forget Christ,” he explained.

No self-torture for inmates too

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has also prohibited forms of physical beating, including crucifixion of prisoners during the observance of Holy Week.

BJMP director Serafin Barretto Jr. said yesterday they have stopped inmates from undergoing self-torture several years ago as a way to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

While the act of self-flagellation is a common tradition among some Catholics in the country, Barretto said it should not be practiced in their facilities because of the health risks involved.

He recalled activities in past years at the Manila City Jail where prisoners were crucified, but this was stopped as it posed health hazards to the inmates.

The other problem is that they will also have to shoulder the expenses for the treatment of prisoners’ wounds, Barretto said.

Instead of physical torture, Barretto suggested other ways for inmates to observe the Holy Week. Among these are having thanksgiving mass, praying the novena and other religious activities.

Ecological conversion

Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition, for its part, performed the Catholic practice of Stations of the Cross yesterday to pray for the public’s “ecological conversion,” especially against improper disposal of electronic wastes or e-wastes and the continued operation of open dumpsites.

Members of the group met in front of the Quezon City Hall in Elliptical Road at around 9 a.m. and wrapped up their penitential walk in front of the Office of the Ombudsman at around noon.  – With Emmanuel Tupas, Elizabeth Marcelo

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1