Archbishop on Marawi crisis: ‘Division not God’s plan for us’

Archbishop on Marawi crisis: ‘Division not God’s plan for us’

Lingayen – Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas at the 1st Solidarity Congress for Persecuted Christians, organized by the Aid to the Church in Need held at the Lay Formation Center in Pangasinan, June 29, 2017. ACN 

DAGUPAN City– Reflecting on the ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world as well as on the continuing Marawi crisis, Lingayen – Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said division in the world is not of God.

“…(T)his division is certainly not God’s plan for us. The cause of all these divisions is sin. Christians in many parts of the world are still being persecuted,” he said during the first ever Solidarity Congress for Persecuted Christians, organized by the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), on June 29 at the Lay Formation Center.

The prelate called on attendees to resist falling into apathy and indifference with regard to the plight of those trapped in conflict areas.

No man is an island

“True to tell, my brothers and sisters, what is happening in Marawi, what is happening in Egypt, in Syria should affect us, it should hurt us, it should disturb us, it should trouble us,” he said.

Villegas added in Filipino: “No one lives for himself. We are all accountable [for what’s happening.]

In his message, the outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference explained the origins of ACN, which can be traced to the separation of Germany into West and communist East during the early years of the Cold War.

“Aid to the Church in Need was born from a wound. It was born from a wound that happened in Germany when Germany was divided into East Germany and West Germany. … And from that wound of division, concern for the suffering brethren in Eastern Germany was born,” explained Villegas, noting that division continues in many parts of the world.

‘Timely’

Giving the keynote address, Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña shared his experience of the Marawi crisis as well as his insights serving in a predominantly Muslim area.

In an interview with CBCPNews, Jonathan Luciano, ACN Philippines national director, stressed the need to reach out to those who suffer because of conflict.

“This congress is timely because of what happened in Marawi. We have to keep our brothers and sisters aware of the real situation of our persecuted brethren and in doing so we can collectively do something for them. For it is our baptismal obligation to extend help to our brothers and sisters who are suffering because they confess the same faith that we have,” he added.

ANC is an “international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy Father”, which aims “to help suffering and persecuted faithful worldwide.” CBCPNews