Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Villegas denounce death penalty

Cardinal Tagle and Archbishop Villegas denounce death penalty

‘Every life has hope,’ Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle says, while Archbishop Socrates Villegas pushes to reform the justice system

By Paterno Esmaquel II @paterno_ii
Published 5:05 PM, December 12, 2016
Updated 5:05 PM, December 12, 2016

LEADING BISHOPS. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (right) and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas (left) attend a press conference on July 7, 2014, about the trip of Pope Francis to the Philippines. File photo by Jay Directo/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ two most influential Catholic bishops have spoken.

Both Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas denounced the plan to revive the death penalty as pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in Congress.

In an Advent recollection on Sunday, December 11, Tagle condemned killing people as “an act of hopelessness and despair.”

“A people that has hope will never kill,” Tagle said at the event organized by Jesuit Communications on Sunday.

The cardinal continued: “Ang pag-asa ay nagsasabi, yurak-yurak man ang buhay mo, nagkamali ka man, umaasa kami, mayroong bagong buhay. Mayroong pag-asa. At ‘pag tinanong tayo, nakikita mo na ba? Hindi ko pa nakikita, pero aasa pa rin ako.”

(Hope tells us that while your life might be broken, while you might have made a mistake, we continue to hope that there is new life. There is hope. And when you’re asked, do you see it? I do not see it yet, but I will continue to hope.)

“Pero ‘pag pinatay na,” Tagle said, “papa’no mo pa makikita ang bagong buhay?”(But when you kill the person, how will you see new life?)

The cardinal explained: “Every life has hope. Every life has an opportunity to be transformed, if only we believe, if only we believe. Because the center of faith is not in the accomplishment of things. The center of faith is Jesus.”

“May we not give up especially on human lives, and may we not give up on every single sinner. There is hope for transformation,” he said.

Tagle earlier released a prayer against the death penalty, meant to be said in Masses throughout the Christmas season. The prayer described the capital punishment as “state-sanctioned death,” and criticized “the illusion that one must take life in order to defend it.”

Tagle’s remarks come as lawmakers at the House of Representatives aim to pass a death penalty bill on 3rd and final reading before Christmas.

‘Can courts make a mistake?’

A day after Tagle spoke in an Advent recollection on Sunday, Villegas led a prayer rally against the death penalty on Monday, December 12, in his archdiocese.

In the message he prepared for Monday’s prayer rally, Villegas explained that it is every Catholic’s duty to help in stopping crime, including the use of illegal drugs.

Duterte has vowed to reinstate the death penalty to boost his war on drugs that has killed more than 5,900 people.

Villegas, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), wrote in his speech, “Ang mabubuting Katoliko ay laban sa droga.” (Good Catholics are against drugs.)

He said that this, however, does not justify reviving the capital punishment.

Referring to the act of sentencing people to death, he said: “Sino ang mag-uutos? Ang hukuman. Sino ang hukuman? Tao. May tao bang hindi nagkakamali? Puwede bang magkamali ang hukuman? Katulad ng lahat ng tao, puwedeng magkamali.”

(Who will order it? The courts. And who are the courts? People. Is there a person who does not make mistakes? Can the courts make a mistake? Like all other people, they can make a mistake.)

‘Protesting with an alternative’

Villegas continued: “Paano kung matapos mabitay ay nakitang iba pala ang may kasalanan? Sorry na lang? Gayon ba? Ay mali? Maibabalik ba ang buhay ng nagpakamalang mabitay? Maibabalik ba ang buhay ng binaril na mistaken identity?”

(What if, after being executed, it is found that another person committed the crime? Just say sorry? Is that so? Oh, we made a mistake? Can we bring back the life of one mistakenly executed? Can we bring back the life of one who was shot on a mistaken identity?)

Villegas added that fiscals and judges can also be bribed.

On top of this, he said the death penalty will victimize mostly the poor who cannot afford good lawyers.

Villegas said: “We are not protesting without a solution. We are protesting with an alternative. Reform the criminal justice system.” (READ: A lethal mix? Death penalty and a ‘flawed, corrupt’ justice system)

He added: “The solution is not killing criminals! Our alternative is fullness of life for the guilty and the innocent. Fullness of life for the poor and the rich. Fullness of life for sinners and saints. Christ died for the criminals and the victims. The love of God is for all. Our love should be like God’s love. For all.”

Pope Francis himself has pushed for the abolition of the death penalty around the world. Francis explained that the capital punishment “does not render justice to victims, but instead fosters vengeance.” (READ: Duterte: Death penalty is retribution)

“The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty,” the Pope said. – Rappler.com

 Read the source: http://www.rappler.com/nation/155284-cardinal-tagle-archbishop-villegas-death-penalty

Published on Dec 3, 2016

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Death penalty is for the lazy— Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan

MANILA, Dec. 12, 2016— There is definitely a case for overhauling the criminal justice system instead of reimposing capital punishment, which, said a Catholic archbishop, is a “lazy” solution.

“Cleanse the police ranks! Fix all the courts! Tighten (the security) at the Bilibid and other prisons. Death penalty is a lazy form of penalty instead of helping reform those who made mistakes,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan at a prayer rally in San Carlos City.

The prelate said the death penalty is unworkable while an efficient justice system is capable of controlling crime.

“We are not protesting without a solution. We are protesting with an alternative. Reform the criminal justice system,” said Villegas.

The archbishop said the government must urgently fix the underlying issues that still drive people to crime.

According to him, death penalty in the context of an imperfect justice system creates a lethal mix where the poor always suffer and politicians and powerful figures often get away with crimes.

“If there’s death penalty but the criminal justice system is corrupt, slow and one-sided, rapist and plunderer, and pusher and killer will remain confident (to commit crime). It’s business as usual,” he said.

Villegas also argued that court officials are only human, they make honest mistakes, and other influences may distract or even conflict with the impartial administration of justice.

When a mistake is made in the capital punishment process, an innocent person may be executed by the state and such error can no longer be corrected.

The prelate also refuted claims that the Church is being soft on crime for opposing the death penalty.

He said they are against crime and the Church doesn’t take for granted the pain felt by the victims of crimes.

“But the solution is not killing criminals. Our alternative is fullness of life for the guilty and the innocent. Fullness of life for the poor and the rich. Fullness of life for sinners and saints,” said Villegas.

He added: “Christ died for the criminals and the victims. The love of God is for all. Our love should be like God’s love. For all.” (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) 

Read the source: http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=88447

Bacolod says no to death penalty

The faithful take part in a Prayer Rally for Life held in Bacolod City on Dec. 12, 2016, feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Unborn and of the prolife movement, as Congress moves to pass a bill for the reimposition of the death penalty in the Phililppines. (Photo: Adsum)

Cardinal Tagle: ‘I will not give up on criminals’

‘Tao ‘yan, buhay ‘yan! May pag-asa ‘yan,’ Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle says of drug addicts and others ‘drawn into vices’

By Paterno Esmaquel II @paterno_ii
Published 12:10 PM, December 14, 2016
Updated 9:03 PM, December 14, 2016

 

‘WE WILL HOPE.’ Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle blesses inmates of the Manila City Jail after celebrating Mass there on Holy Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Photo by Angie de Silva

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle made an impassioned appeal for criminals, including drug addicts, as he denounced the death penalty being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in Congress.

“I will not give up on anyone. I will not give up on anything. I will not give up even on criminals,” Tagle said at “The Word Exposed” Advent recollection on Sunday, December 11.

“We hope, intensely hope, for people, especially the youth, who have been drawn into vices, drugs. Others view them as beyond hope. No! With John the Baptist, we declare, we will hope,” the cardinal said during the event organized by Jesuit Communications on Sunday.

He said that “we will continue hoping” even if “we do not see now, even now, the fruits of our hope.”

“Tao ‘yan, buhay ‘yan! May pag-asa ‘yan. At hindi ‘yan dapat ideklara na wala nang pag-asa,” Tagle said. (That’s a person, that’s a life! He has hope. And he shouldn’t be declared hopeless.)

He continued: “Kung ‘yan ay yayakapin nang may pag-asa at pananampalataya, magugulat tayo. Ang hindi natin inaasahan, baka, wow, a miracle might bloom before our very eyes. Kaya huwag, huwag na huwag lalapastanganin ang isang tao na nagkamali. Sa halip na lapastanganin, umasa!”

(If you will embrace that person with hope and faith, we will be surprised. What we don’t expect is that, wow, a miracle might bloom before our very eyes. So do not, do not ever disrespect a person who has made a mistake. Instead of disrespecting him, have hope!)

This is difficult, he said, “but it can happen.”

Tagle made these remarks as Duterte wants to reinstate the death penalty. The President wants this as part of his war on drugs that has already killed more than 5,900 people even without the capital punishment.

Duterte even considers drug addicts as beyond redemption because “once you’re addicted to shabu, rehabilitation is no longer a viable option.” (READ: Inside the brain of a drug user)

The President, in fact, once questioned if drug addicts can be considered human beings.

“Are they humans? What is your definition of a human being? Tell me. Human rights. Use it properly in the right context, if you have the brains,” Duterte said at the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command on August 26.

‘Keep on hoping’

Tagle, in contrast, believes that “every life has hope.”

To illustrate his point, Tagle recounted meeting a deaf and mute street child at Tulay ng Kabataan, the orphanage visited by Pope Francis in January 2015.

“Sabi ng isang tao doon sa shelter, the first month, talagang ang hirap daw talagang alagaan ng bata. Napaka-unruly. Siguro lahat ng negative experiences sa kalye, all the abuse, all the violence, na-imbibe niya,” Tagle said.

(According to one person in the shelter, in the first month, the child was really difficult to take care of. He was really unruly. Maybe he had imbibed all the negative experiences on the streets, all the abuse, all the violence.)

“But they provided him with shelter, a community, and love. Hope.”

“After one month, sabi nila, he is a changed person. At sabi nila, he is very prayerful. Laging nasa chapel,” Tagle said.

(After one month, they said, he is a changed person. And they said he is very prayerful. He is always in the chapel.)

“Imagine if people had given up on him,” the cardinal said. “But now, he is a model of prayer, of sanctity. And we were glad to have seen it. But even if we haven’t seen it, that’s part of hoping. Do your share. Believe. Whether you see it or not, just do it. Keep on hoping.”

‘Don’t give up on sinners’

After recounting this story, Tagle deplored the act of killing those who have made mistakes in life.

Killing people, he said, “is an act of hopelessness and despair.”

“Ang pag-asa ay nagsasabi, yurak-yurak man ang buhay mo, nagkamali ka man, umaasa kami, mayroong bagong buhay. Mayroong pag-asa,”Tagle said.

(Hope tells us that while your life might be broken, while you might have made a mistake, we continue to hope that there is new life. There is hope.)

He continued: “At ‘pag tinanong tayo, nakikita mo na ba? Hindi ko pa nakikita, pero aasa pa rin ako. Pero ‘pag pinatay na, papa’no mo pa makikita ang bagong buhay?” (And when you’re asked, do you see it? I do not see it yet, but I will continue to hope. But when you kill the person, how will you see new life?)

The cardinal explained: “Every life has hope. Every life has an opportunity to be transformed, if only we believe, if only we believe. Because the center of faith is not in the accomplishment of things. The center of faith is Jesus.”

“In the midst of our doubts, in the midst of our questioning, may our hope remain firm. May we not give up especially on human lives and may we not give up on every single sinner. There is hope for transformation,” he said.

Villegas vs death penalty, too

Tagle earlier released a prayer against the death penalty, meant to be said in Masses throughout the Christmas season. The prayer described the capital punishment as “state-sanctioned death,” and criticized “the illusion that one must take life in order to defend it.”

Tagle is one of the Philippines’ two most influential Catholic bishops, the other being Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

In his archdiocese, Villegas led a prayer rally on Monday, December 12, to denounce the death penalty.

Referring to the act of sentencing people to death, Villegas said in a prepared speech: “Sino ang mag-uutos? Ang hukuman. Sino ang hukuman? Tao. May tao bang hindi nagkakamali? Puwede bang magkamali ang hukuman? Katulad ng lahat ng tao, puwedeng magkamali.”

(Who will order it? The courts. And who are the courts? People. Is there a person who does not make mistakes? Can the courts make a mistake? Like all other people, they can make a mistake.)

Villegas continued: “Paano kung matapos mabitay ay nakitang iba pala ang may kasalanan? Sorry na lang? Gayon ba? Ay mali? Maibabalik ba ang buhay ng nagpakamalang mabitay? Maibabalik ba ang buhay ng binaril na mistaken identity?”

(What if, after being executed, it is found that another person committed the crime? Just say sorry? Is that so? Oh, we made a mistake? Can we bring back the life of one mistakenly executed? Can we bring back the life of one who was shot on a mistaken identity?)

Villegas then made a proposal: “We are not protesting without a solution. We are protesting with an alternative. Reform the criminal justice system.” (READ: A lethal mix? Death penalty and a ‘flawed, corrupt’ justice system)

He added: “The solution is not killing criminals! Our alternative is fullness of life for the guilty and the innocent.” – Rappler.com

 Read the source: http://www.rappler.com/nation/155465-cardinal-tagle-death-penalty-criminals-drug-addicts

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An Assessment of the New USCCB Document Faithful Citizenship: FCFC (#34) lists “intrinsically evil acts,” and says that Catholics cannot vote for a political candidate “who favors a policy promoting” them http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/06/an-assessment-of-the-new-usccb-document-faithful-citizenship-fcfc-34-lists-intrinsically-evil-acts-and-says-that-catholics-cannot-vote-for-a-political-candidate-who-fav/

US Bishops release latest version of ‘Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,’ Catholic guide to voting http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/08/12/us-bishops-release-latest-version-of-forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship-catholic-guide-to-voting/

Kansas bishops offer election year guidance  http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/28/kansas-bishops-offer-election-year-guidance/

Here’s one clear and uncomplicated principle for voting: Don’t vote for pro-abortion politicians http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/08/16/heres-one-clear-and-uncomplicated-principle-for-voting-dont-vote-for-pro-abortion-politicians/

THE DOWNLOAD—YOUR VOTE COUNTS – But it’s your own soul that’ll do the counting http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/09/20527/

THE VORTEX: A TIE IS A LOSS – Maybe Catholics should concentrate more on the Faith than on politics http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/03/15/the-vortex-a-tie-is-a-loss-maybe-catholics-should-concentrate-more-on-the-faith-than-on-politics/

Catholic Bishops: Voting for Candidate who supports abortion is formal cooperation with evil

Should Pope Francis get involved in politics? Of course he should   http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/19/should-pope-francis-get-involved-in-politics-of-course-he-should/

Is Health Care a Pro Life Issue? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/14/is-health-care-a-pro-life-issue/

BISHOP ROBERT MCELROY GOES SOFT ON INTRINSIC EVIL: San Diego bishop says intrinsic evils don’t automatically prioritize issues for voters http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/bishop-robert-mcelroy-goes-soft-on-intrinsic-evil-san-diego-bishop-says-intrinsic-evils-dont-automatically-prioritize-issues-for-voters/

WATCH: Fr. Pavone on why Catholics can’t sit out the election http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/09/28/watch-fr-pavone-on-why-catholics-cant-sit-out-the-election/

Archbishop Oscar Cruz on the forthcoming elections: Principle of participation

Is Socialism Making a Comeback? – Despite Bernie Sanders’s best efforts, socialism is still as bad an idea as it ever was http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/is-socialism-making-a-comeback-despite-bernie-sanderss-best-efforts-socialism-is-still-as-bad-an-idea-as-it-ever-was/

CBCP President Archbishop Soc Villegas grieved over Duterte’s cursing of Pope

“When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people. When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame.”