Palma: Church still one despite different opinions
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Freeman) - March 14, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said yesterday the Catholic Church is not necessarily divided despite several bishops calling for the resignation of President Benigno Aquino III.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is not supporting any call for resignation.

“There are always ranges of opinion from this side to the other. As Cardinal Sin said, in our ranks, there are accelerator(s) and brake(s). We are thankful for both. That is the beauty of the church,” Palma said.

He said the Cebu archdiocese and himself, personally, stand by the opinion of CBCP.

Still, he said he recognizes and respects the bishops who are vocal in expressing a different opinion.

“As church leaders, we should not make statements pertaining to politics. We are not in the position to do such. Though there have been issues and concerns that I have spoken about especially during my time as CBCP president like unabated mining and logging, improving the electoral process, among others,” he said.

He recalled the controversial post-birthday mass and gathering at the home of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal where the retired prelate read a statement prepared by National Transformation Council, which called for Aquino to step down.

“In all truth, I thought it was all to greet the cardinal a belated happy birthday. I did not know that the cardinal read a message prepared by NTC. I left for Manaoag and Monsignor (Joseph) Tan suggested that it might be best to release a statement on what happened. So I decided to hand write it to prove authenticity,” Palma said.

Meanwhile, Palma said the Cebu Archdiocese does not have an official stand on the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“It’s not a simple bill for us to easily say yes or no to it. There are many intricacies of the bill. We are for peace. But we are not experts on these matters. We love our Muslim brothers. We have no definite stand of the church,” he said.

What is in place, he said, is the church’s continued call for an end to the hostilities in conflict-torn Mindanao.

“We are praying for peace. We long for peace. As much as possible, let’s talk about peace and how we can achieve it,” Palma said. — Jessa J. Agua/JMO (FREEMAN)

AS CARDINAL SIN BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES CATHOLIC CHURCH CEBU ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS RICARDO CARDINAL VIDAL CEBU ARCHBISHOP JOSE PALMA CEBU ARCHDIOCESE JESSA J MANAOAG AND MONSIGNOR NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION COUNCIL
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