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Cardinal Tagle deplores priest’s murder

Cardinal Tagle deplores priest’s murder

File photo shows Fr. Mark Ventura blessing churchgoers after a Mass at the Poor Clare Monastery in Iguig Cagayan, August 11, 2015. MARIA TAN

By Roy Lagarde

May 1, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has condemned the murder of another priest, lamenting that the surge in killings in the country only shows the losing respect for life and “God’s gift” mentality.

Speaking to thousands gathered for the episcopal ordination of Bartolome Santos, Jr., in Malolos City on April 30, he said that it’s “saddening” that some people no longer value life as a gift from God.

“It’s sad that a priest was killed in Tuguegarao. And even if he’s not a priest, a person. Isn’t he a gift from God? Is it that easy nowadays to just kill and throw someone away?” Tagle said in his homily at the Basilica Minore of the Immaculate Conception.

The cardinal said the emerging culture is “transactional” that people reject others who are no longer useful to them.

“Maybe other people would say that he’s not a gift but a hindrance. Let’s bring back the God’s gift perspective,” he said. You don’t throw away gifts. Gifts are treasures.”

Fr. Mark Ventura, a clergy of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, was killed on Sunday after celebrating Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan.

He was the second priest to be murdered in four months after Fr. Marcelito Paez, 72, who was killed by still unidentified in Nueva Ecija province last December.

Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao appealed to the authorities for a speedy investigation into 37-year-old priest’s murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“We condemn in strongest terms this brutal and cowardly act,” he said. “There have been too many murders already done with impunity in our country by assassins riding in tandem. May this be the last.”