Bishops oppose arming priests

Bishops oppose arming priests

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President.


June 12, 2018

Manila, Philippines

The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said he is strongly against the idea of arming priests for personal safety in the wake of recent attacks on clergymen.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President, said that priests are supposed to be men of peace, not violence.

“I would strongly oppose to arm the priests,” Valles told Manila archdiocese-run Radio Veritas.

“We are men of God, men of the Church and it is part of our ministry to face face dangers, to face deaths if one may say that way. But we would do it just what Jesus did,” he said.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio, who is also the apostolic administrator of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, said he could think of several scenarios where it could have negative consequences.

“It will create more chaos, it will not solve anything,” he said.

Fr. Richmond Nilo has been shot dead inside a chapel in the town of Zaragoza in Nueva Ecija province on June 10 as he was preparing to say Mass, the third cleric to be killed in six months.

The attack occurred four days after Fr. Rey Urmeneta, a former police chaplain, was wounded in a shooting in Calamba City in Laguna province on June 6.

On April 29, Fr. Mark Ventura, known for his anti-mining advocacy, was gunned down after celebrating Mass in the province of Cagayan.

In December last year, 72-year-old Fr. Marcelito Paez was shot dead in Jaen town in Nueva Ecija after facilitaitng the release of a political prisoner.