Standing up for life in a “Country shrouded in the darkness of vice and death” & Is death penalty the answer?

Standing up for life in a “Country shrouded in the darkness of vice and death” & Is death penalty the answer?

By Rev. Eutiquio B. Belizar, Jr., SThD, February 27,2017

Rev. Eutiquio ‘Euly’ B. Belizar, Jr.That is how I see the CBCP in its latest pastoral letter on the EJKs, the drug war and other anti-life efforts at work in our islands. As of this writing official administration sources have, predictably, dismissed it as “out of touch” and “hypocritical”, coming from “a bunch of hypocrites with no moral ascendancy”. I take it to mean that they have not really read the whole letter and are not interested in what it says.

First off, it is a sad commentary of our current government’s leaders that they rarely show the ability to receive even a constructive criticism. The chief executive and his allies appear to have chosen to see every critic as an enemy. Instead of listening, they take the feedback as a put down and respond in kind. Verbal abuse has been heaped on a previous American president, local political opponents, the United Nations, Amnesty International, the European Union and, many times, the Catholic Church. They seem to hope every abuse will drive critics away. Or justify the status quo. They may have made a mistake. To quote the letter: “We in the Church will continue to speak out against evil…even if it will bring persecution upon us because we are all brothers and sisters responsible for each other.” The Catholic bishops have put on notice that doing the prophetic ministry is not optional. It is an obligation upon God’s servants that they are. On the other hand, given the history of this administration’s behavior towards its critics, the bishops may be in for some more unfriendly “fire”. That the bishops already know, it seems, and are getting themselves ready for. But we must still hope and pray positive ones are among the consequences.

Second, the letter in simple language has spells out the spiritual-moral reasons for their concern: the sanctity of human life and therefore killing as a grave sin, the mercy of God that opens up “the opportunity to change” to “every person”. This includes criminals, addicts, pushers and other social outcasts. Even apart from any legal consideration, it also points out “the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty”.

This last is clearly violated not only by the EJKs themselves but also by the public shaming of perceived violators of the law. The bishops even go to the socio-economic roots of the drug problem and criminality: “the poverty of the majority, the destruction of the family and corruption in society”. It might be argued that even wealthy countries also have drug and criminality problems; these scourges appear to respect neither rich nor poor. But citing the moral breakdown of the family and society is, beyond doubt, hitting the nail on the head. Even the abject poverty, lack of opportunity and grindingly slow justice system in the country are but among the ugly faces of this moral breakdown. How else do we address this moral roots than by constantly “inciting” every Filipino, our political leaders, bishops, clergy and other citizens included, towards conversion and spiritual regeneration. The bishops provide us a clue to the right way of doing this ministry, that is, not from a position of moral superiority but from the platform of humility. They add, not quite incidentally, the clause “even as we acknowledge and repent of our shortcomings”. The call to conversion is for all but, say the bishops, for its bearers first of all. Here the real challenge lies.

Third, the letter also addresses the ordinary citizens’ seeming indifference and even “consent” towards the killings and the drug addiction upon us. The language is direct and blunt. “To consent and to keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it”, to “neglect the drug addicts and pushers” is to “become part of the drug problem”, to “consent or allow the killing of suspected drug addicts” is also to be “responsible for their deaths”. Still, to also expect the up-to-now silent and consenting majority to suddenly speak out for life may be a tall order. But the prophetic word has been uttered. It is now in the hearers’ court. We need to pray and work harder everywhere we are in our sun-kissed and storm-swept islands that the Spirit of the Father and the Son continue to lead us to his light and deliver us from evil inside and outside of our hearts.

St. Peter has this to say to Gospel proclaimers: “Beloved, rejoice, in the measure that you share in Christ’s sufferings…Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God’s Spirit in its glory has come to rest on you” (1 Peter 4:13-14).

Read the source: http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=91428

Is Death Penalty the answer?

 Atty. Aurora A. Santiago, Duc in altum, February 27,2017

Atty. Aurora SantiagoDuring its Plenary Session last January, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued Pastoral Statement on Death Penalty. “The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is the Gospel of Life. When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process. Throughout the world, the trend against the death penalty is unmistakable, and international covenants, one of which the Philippines is party to, obligate us not to impose the death penalty. We urge the government to champion life for all!”

Let us support our Bishops. Let us join the Walk for Life being called by The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO), the implementing arm of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on the Laity (ECLA). LAIKO President Mrs. Zenaida Capistrano and ECLA Chairman Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo invite all Diocesan Councils of the Laity, Parish Pastoral Councils, Diocesan and National Organizations, Renewal Movements, Transparochial Organizations and Catholic Schools to participate in the Walk for Life to be held from 4:30a.m. to 7:00 a.m. of February 18, 2017, Saturday, at the Parade Grounds of Quirino Grandstand.

In its Position Paper, LAIKO stated that the Walk for Life is our campaign appeal to our lawmakers both at the Senate and the House of Representatives to reject the re-imposition of Death Penalty. The abolition of death penalty in 1987 is a strong message that it has no place in our society where preservation and respect for human life is of utmost importance. Mostly the poor and the marginalized people are victims since they do not have access to legal resources to defend themselves. “Death penalty will never bring real justice. Further, it breaks essential human rights such as the right to life. “MAHALAGA ANG BUHAY…HINDI SAGOT ANG PAGPATAY!” (Life is important… the Answer is not death)

Catholic Organizations who wish to join the Walk for Life may wear their respective Organizational or Walk for Life T-Shirts, however, for security purposes, they are requested to call LAIKO for the Stickers and registration arrangements. To defray costs, donations are accepted. The amount of P250.00 includes Walk for Life t-shirt which is an entry pass for the event. For registration requirements, please call up LAIKO Mobilization Hotline at 527-5388 and look for Joseph or Kate.

***

We support CBCP’s position not to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old. Children of that age may only be in his grade 3, still innocent, young and vulnerable. A child that age do not think of criminal intent in whatever he is doing. Just imagine a child of such tender age, apprehended by the authorities and detained in the same place as the hardened and matured offenders. These youngsters will just be bullied and abused by the adult offenders and instead of reforming these children, they will grow to be hardened criminals too. What our lawmakers must do is to slap stiffer punishment on syndicate which uses children to commit crimes. Parents should likewise be vigilant in monitoring what their children are doing.

Read the source: http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=91426

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/12/28/the-ten-commandments-what-you-should-know/

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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.”