Laguna bishop speaks out against gun-toting priests

Laguna bishop speaks out against gun-toting priests

Catholics join the penitential pilgrimage walk along the streets in Dagupan City to condemn the continued killings in the country, June 18, 2018. PHOTO FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF LINGAYEN-DAGUPAN

By Roy Lagarde

June 18, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo did not mince words in warning his priests who reportedly carry guns for self defence.

The bishop said over Radio Veritas that he is against the idea of arming priests in the wake of recent attacks on clergymen.

“Personally, I do not approve of priests owning a gun for whatever purposes,” said Famadico, who also heads the Commission on Clergy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Sunday that some priests in the San Pablo diocese are arming themselves for protection — given that three clerics have been assassinated in the past few months.

Famadico said he would discuss the issue with his priests during their regular clergy assembly on Monday.

“We will discuss it in our clergy assembly to arrive at a common policy,” he said.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan criticized priests who carry guns, even if it is for their personal safety.

“They might want to consider leaving the priesthood and joining the police or the military instead,” David said. “We don’t even have to dwell on the morality of it; it is unpriestly, to say the least.”

He added that priests arming themselves need “serious counselling as to what the option to carry a gun for personal protection is telling them about themselves”.

While he is also against arming priests, Archbishop Rolando Tirona of Nueva Caceres urged the government to address the spate of killings in the country.

“That’s how serious the situation had become. What triggers this situation (priests arming themselves)? Is there a break down of law?” Tirona said.