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Cardinal Tagle: ‘We cannot govern the nation by killing’ 

Cardinal Tagle: ‘We cannot govern the nation by killing’ 
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila sent off more than 5,000 participants of the 4th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization with a candle-lighting ritual and an appeal to “work and pray for communion”, July 30, 2017. ROY LAGARDE

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said the country cannot be governed by violence as the government’s brutal drug war continues to escalate.

He said that it is with “pain and horror” that the country continues to get daily news of killings, mostly victimizing suspected drug pushers and users.

“We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killings, we cannot foster a humane and decent Filipino culture by killing,” Tagle said.

Currently in France for an official appointment, the cardinal’s statement was released by the Manila archdiocese’s chancery on Friday, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This also coincides with investigations into allegations that some police personnel are secretly involved in the extrajudicial drug-related deaths.

Tagle then called on those behind the killings to listen to their conscience and the voice of God “that summons us to do good and avoid evil”.

“Heartless violence can be conquered only by a change of heart and by discovering in the depths of our being the inclination to do good and to love our neighbor,” he noted.

Dialogue, encounter

The church official has repeatedly expressed concern over the spate of killings in the country and even led a multisectoral dialogue to come up with a united response to the illegal drugs problem.

Held on August 25, the dialogue gathered together some bishops, government and police authorities, journalists and youth leaders.

“This dialogues and encounters have provided venues for telling and listening to human stories and for establishing partnership with various sectors of society and government,” he said.

Before he left for abroad, the cardinal also met with some families of the victims of recent killings and facilitated a recollection for the fresh graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy.

“I hope that this type of dialogue may continue on different levels, including the parishes,” he said, as he called for more solidarity with those who have been killed and empathy and spiritual support to their families.

He also asked the priests and lay leaders in parish communities where there are cases of killings to go to the wake in order to bless the departed “and to be one with the grieving families in sorrow and in hope”.

Church bells

Cardinal Tagle has also joined other bishops in calling for the tolling of church bells to raise alarm over the spate of killings.

He ordered bells to be tolled every 8pm for five minutes across his pastoral jurisdiction to call on the faithful to remember the dead and pray for them.

The tolling of church bells in the evening to pray for the dead is an old Filipino custom.

“Now is the right time to revive it,” he said. CBCPNews