Bishops voice strong commitment for Church-gov’t ties
MANILA— Catholic bishops held talks with top government officials during which they expressed strong commitment to develop positive relations despite differences over the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
The initial meeting was held at the CBCP headquarters in Manila on March 31 in what could be a major step by the two parties to iron out differences.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President, stressed on ANC’s Beyond Politics with Lynda Jumilla on March 4 that dialogue is the best way forward.
“There are issues where we differ in principle, but we should not allow such differences to prevent us from cooperating such as working for the poor and empowering Mindanao,” Villegas said.
“We should support him on peace-making, alleviating the situation of the poor and everything that is for the benefit of the people,” he said.
The CBCP head did not identify the Cabinet officials but said they have made a “breakthrough”, adding that there was a mutual request from both sides to “tone down” attacks against each other.
“You stop we stop,” said Villegas. “You can’t tell us to stop talking when issues are so unchristian and against our beliefs.” “If they stop killings, the so-called disregard for human life, then you can trust that we will tone down statements because we will see that goodwill,” he said.
The archbishop added that the bishops are concerned that if they keep their silence and do not protest the killings, “people might think it’s the new normal.”
“That is the more worrisome issue when our traditionally Catholic beliefs and Filipino culture is being changed slowly. It’s like the boiling of the frog. We should not consider killing, adultery, swearing normal,” he said.
Villegas clarified that the Church is not against Duterte as a person, but against issues concerning morals.
“We assured for the success of the President but solutions should be within parameters of morality,” he also said. CBCPNews