Priest calls on faithful to support CBCP stand'
Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros (The Freeman) - February 7, 2017 - 12:00am

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades on priests and bishops, a retired priest in Tacloban City urged churchgoers to rally behind the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in its stand on controversial issues affecting the country.

Father Oscar Lorenzo, a classmate of Bishop Teodoro Bacani in the seminary of Ateneo University in their younger years, lamented how the President criticizes clerics.

Lorenzo anticipated early on that when the CBCP, from its plenary conference, issues official statements on social issues such as extrajudicial killings, capital punishment and reproductive health law, it will once again receive lashing from Duterte.

Broadsheets and broadcasts are now reporting the adverse reactions of the president to the criticisms levelled against his flagship policies such as imposition of capital punishment and the war on drugs. "This is prosecution of the Catholic Church!" Lorenzo told the faithful.

In his Sunday homily at the Sto. Ni?o Church in Tacloban, Lorenzo said death as capital punishment is un-Christian, anti-poor and against God's law. "God is just but his justice is perfect while man's justice is not," he cited.

Lorenzo said that killing a suspect does not give him a chance to reform, in contrast to the Biblical account on the life of Saul who, despite being a hardened criminal, was forgiven by God, and he reformed and is now a vital figure in Christendom.

Quoting CBCP President Soc Villegas’s remarks, Lorenzo said: "We cannot keep silent but if we keep silent it does not mean that we are tolerating all kinds of non-sense happening around us.

"It may be true that (there are priests) who are hypocrites, but to say this in public and to keep on repeating and repeating it is too insulting," Lorenzo said. "So let us pray for the Philippines, and also for our bishops who are always praying for us," he said. (FREEMAN)

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