Church urges repentance over rampant killings

Church urges repentance over rampant killings

MANILA— The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines today called for repentance amid the rising death toll of criminals and drug suspects including minors.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, CBCP President, said time is calling everybody, including political and church leaders, to repent “so healing can begin”.

“We need to repent as a nation,” Villegas said in his homily during the “Lord Heal Our Land Sunday” Mass at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, also known as the Edsa Shrine in Quezon City on November 5.

“Repent now. Time is not ours. Start the healing by repenting now. We cannot heal as a nation by blaming others. We have only ourselves to blame first. Let the healing begin here… in each one here,” he said.

The church leader, however, pointed out that while stopping the killing is a big step, the journey of healing for the nation’s values that “turned upside down will be a long journey still”.

He said many Filipinos are “misguided” and chose the “path of darkness over light” for allowing killings to happen in the government’s bloody war on drugs.

Human rights groups tally the death in the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs at more than 13,000 since the Duterte administration took over in June last year.

Villegas said the call for repentance must be led by Church leaders “for keeping quiet when we should speak and blabbering when what is needed is silence”.

“God forgive us leaders of your Church. Have mercy on us,” he said.

The archbishop also appealed for “healing” among government leaders from opposing parties and “let politics serve the poor”.

When party loyalty prevails over public welfare, he said that the need to repent is a must.

“Let civility and courtesy prevail over curses and lies. Let the institutions of democracy be revered and safeguarded; let dialogue prevail over the many reasons for division,” Villegas said.

“No government is forever. No politician is forever. Only God is forever. Turn to the Lord and turn away from destructive politics,” he said. “We respect you and we call you Honorable. Be worthy of it.”