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Opinion

Bishop: Unite in prayer against atheistic China

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

“China is a threat,” Catholic Archbishop Socrates Villegas warns. “A foreign power that recognizes no God and keeps religion and the practice of faith under totalitarianism is insidiously attempting to ‘trample our sacred shores’.”

While praising government, military and civilian repulsion of Chinese aggression, he exhorts Filipinos to unite in prayer: “If God is with us, no power can prevail against us.”

Political, military and security issues rest on morals, says Villegas, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, he expounds on this in a pastoral letter read at masses last weekend at the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas: “If God is with us, no power can prevail against us”
Wikipedia photo

The prelate enumerates China perils:

• “It maintains agents capable of espionage and subversion.

• “It inches menacingly close. Provocations against Philippine Coast Guard vessels are well within Philippine exclusive economic zone.

• “Not only are our maritime zones usurped and fishermen evicted from fishing grounds, our marine environment is wrecked as China converts features into militarized islands.

• “The possibility that the government has been infiltrated by persons on Beijing’s payroll puts our country’s sovereignty and independence on the line.

• “Due to lackadaisical or criminal conduct of government personnel, foreigners with malicious intent enter and acquire residency, perhaps even pass themselves off as natural-born Filipinos to qualify for public office.”

Villegas cites “grave moral concerns:” “First, there is the moral issue of Filipinos securing for themselves and their future the resources that the Creator has made available to them and that the laws of humankind recognize as theirs.

“Fisherfolk have been deprived of the abundance that once allowed them a decent existence, and that has now forced them to rummage through the leftovers of Chinese poachers and encroachers.”

He goes on: “Second, there is the moral issue of safeguarding the right of persons to practice their faith without State interference, and the right of Filipinos to be shielded from the onslaught of agents of atheistic ideology. Our system recognizes fundamental rights and we will not sacrifice them for any political or ideological party.

“Third, there is the moral issue underscored by Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si, that calls attention of all Catholics – of all humanity – to our responsibility for ‘our common home’ and to defend nature against destructive forces – particularly greed and arrogance.”

Villegas stresses the power of prayer: “At the height of Soviet power, when it seemed invincible and had won a third of the world’s population to its ideology, we were assured by Our Lady of Fatima that if we armed ourselves with the rosary, ‘Russia would be converted.’ And the Blessed Mother kept her promise.

“This is not superstition. Through meditating on the mysteries of our salvation, as we move through the beads of the rosary, we are configured into the mind and heart of God who has revealed himself in his Son Jesus on whose saving work we meditate.

“Even EDSA people power – 1986 was preceded by Marian Year 1985 when we prayed, fasted and lived in solidarity with the poor. Let’s do it again. The rosary is simple, small and powerful like the mustard seed in the Gospel.”

Villegas calls for concerted prayer: “I ask the Catholic faithful to join a Rosary Campaign from June 27 to the Solemnity of the Assumption on Aug. 15. I appeal to our Catholic faithful to fast whenever they can, to approach the Sacrament of Penance, and to perform other acts of penance and supererogation.”

Stop POGOs, Villegas pleads. “It’s time to end Philippine offshore gaming operators. Whatever benefits that allow them to operate are overshadowed by threats they carry. Recent raids revealed the evils at POGO hubs – human trafficking, torture, money laundering.”

He asks lawmakers: “Be resolute in your investigations and forthright in your report to the nation. Bring to light the extent to which our government and national and local institutions have been infiltrated by agents and lackeys of China.”

To prosecutors and judges: “Be loyal to your oath of office as administrators of justice to see to the prosecution and punishment of all who have made a mockery of legal and administrative processes to enable foreign elements to prejudice our national security and interests.”

To security forces: “Dear heroic and brave uniformed men and women who patrol our waters, escort our fishermen, assert our claims and defend our territory and waters: may you receive all the support that government can give and that our people are able to. Take courage. Defend our seas and our people. Be the heroes we need now.”

To fisherfolk: “I laud the courageous fishermen who joined the recent flotilla – no matter how humble the vessels may have been – in asserting the sovereign rights of the Philippines.”

To Filipinos: “Stand proud and tall. Do not cower in fear lest our sacred rights be trampled on.”

*      *      *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., dwIZ (882-AM).

Follow me on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/Jarius-Bondoc

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