Bishop stresses ‘liberating words’, hits trolls

Bishop stresses ‘liberating words’, hits trolls

Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos gives the homily during the closing Mass of the the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM4) at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, Jan. 20, 2017 (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

BAGAC, Bataan, Jan. 20, 2017 – Emphasizing the power of words, a prelate ended the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM4) earlier today with a message on how Christians’ words should also communicate mercy and truth.

“My brothers and sisters in Christ, reflecting deeper the common denominator of the seven spiritual acts of mercy is about words. And they are words which are truthful and liberating,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos, D.D. to some 5,000 delegates from all over the world gathered at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

The WACOM Asia coordinator said Christians who would want to be “missionaries of mercy” should see to it that their words are in line with their mission.

Words of mercy

“They (words of mercy) are words which build up the characters and improve human relationships. Those are words which renew the person and uplift our spirits,” he said.

Citing the Gospel passage of Jesus’ encounter with the adulterous woman, Santos said, Jesus Himself is the model for merciful language.

“…(T)he words of Jesus are mercy and compassion. With His merciful love, Jesus considered her as a person to be saved. He did not condemn nor condone her. Jesus gave her a second chance for better life. He offered her a fresh opportunity to repent and to return to God.”

“Jesus opened her eyes and her heart to the sublime life with and of God. And the life of God is mercy. Thus the verdict of Jesus for that woman was compassion. The sentence is forgiveness. The word is mercy as Jesus said to her, ‘neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on do not sin anymore’,” explained the prelate.

Trolls, fake news

Commenting on the prevalence of rude and irresponsible online behavior, Santos said trolls and online bashing are the opposite of mercy.

“Fake news and trolls are not mercy. They are lies. Bullying and internet bashing are not mercy. They are offensive and violent,” he stressed.

“Verbal abuse and gossiping are not mercy. They are character assassinations.”

In preparation for the WACOM4 delegates’ “mission sending”, Santos reminded them of the “nameless woman in today’s Gospel” they could meet in their respective places.

“Let us remember what we learned today, that you and I are messengers of mercy. Mercy is our word. Our message is mercy,” he said.

Nueva Segovia Archbishop Marlo Peralta celebrated WACOM4’s closing Mass, wrapping up the 5-day mercy congress that gathered delegates from Indonesia, Fiji, Malaysia, France, Austria, the U.S., and the Philippines. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz with reports from Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)