Bishop to PNP chaplains: ‘Elevate’ spirituality of police force

Bishop to PNP chaplains: ‘Elevate’ spirituality of police force

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio (center), Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, attends the 5th Philippine Congress on New Evangelization at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion in Manila, July 18, 2018. MARTINA SUMMER DAGAL

By Roy Lagarde

July 18, 2018

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop called on police chaplains to “elevate” the spirituality of the country’s law enforcers amid the spate of controversies hounding the law enforcement agency.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio, Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, said that as chaplains their mission is to attend to the pastoral care of the men and women in uniform.

“How to balance would depend on them but I keep reminding them that before they are there as chaplains, they are priests,” Florencio said.

The prelate made the statement at the sidelines of the ongoing Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion in Manila on Wednesday.

He was accompanied by several chaplains assigned in different police regional offices.

There are currently 130 active police and military chaplains in the country.

The police institution has been hounded by a series of controversies amidst the increasing number of drug-related killings in the country.

The bishop admitted that there are situations when the chaplains are “caught in the middle” of the problem but said he consistently cautioned and advised them to do what is right.

“They (chaplains) have to insist on this: what is right is right, what is wrong is wrong,” said Florencio. “Their conscience would guide them.”

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier asked the assistance of the Church for the rehabilitation of arrested drug suspects and spiritual help for the “internal cleansing” of the police force.

The theme of this year’s PCNE is “Moved with Compassion: Feed the Multitude,” which coincides with the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons as declared by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The event also aims to tackle the primary tasks of the clergy and consecrated persons “in bringing all their creativity, imagination and enthusiasm for the Gospel to the ministry”.

“So more or less this would help them with the theme about the renewal of the clergy for the new evangelization,” Florencio also said.

PCNE was introduced by Cardinal Tagle in 2013 as a local response to the call for the new evangelization.