Masses to be offered for bishops, priests facing sedition raps
By CBCP News
August 1, 2019
Manila’s parish churches will offer all their Sunday Masses this month for bishops and priests who are facing sedition complaints.
No other Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle ordered his parish priests to offer their Masses, starting Aug. 4, for clergymen, “especially those who suffer from persecution and false accusations”.
The celebration on Sunday, Aug. 4, also marks the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of priests.
“Let our prayers be the best expression of our solidarity and fraternal support for them,” said Fr. Reginald Malicdem, chancellor of the Manila archdiocese, in a circular issued on Thursday.
He said that the cardinal also urged the faithful “to be aware and discerning of the many disturbing issues in our society today”.
At the same time, the archdiocese issued a “prayer for the nation” to be prayed at all Sunday Masses, including the evening Masses of Saturday, for the whole month of August.
Fr. Malicdem said the prayer will take the place of the Prayer of the Faithful during the Mass.
“We are invited to respond in faith and hope through our common prayer,” he said.
Authorities have filed sedition and other criminal complaints on July 18 against four bishops, three priests, a religious brother, the country’s vice president, and other critics of President Duterte for allegedly plotting to destabilize his administration.
Among those facing the complaints is Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, who expressed shock at police moves to charge them with sedition.
He may be a vocal critic of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, but the archbishop asserted that he is not a political trouble maker. “My duty is to disturb cold consciences,” Villegas said.
“I always knew and understood that the priesthood is sacrifice but frankly I never imagined I would ever be accused of a crime like sedition and even to receive a subpoena to explain why I should not be charged with this crime,” he said.
“The good Lord knows I am innocent of the crime they charge me with,” Villegas also said. CBCPNEWS