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For whom De Profundis church bells toll

For whom De Profundis church bells toll

To: Archdiocesan Clergy, Religious Communities, Lay Leaders, and Parishioners
From: Abp. A. Ledesma, SJ

For whom De Profundis church bells toll

On this feast of St. Augustine, together with other church leaders and dioceses, we express our deep concern for the continued spate of extra-judicial killings that have claimed even young lives and many others without due process. These summary killings and violations of human rights cannot be justified by invoking the greater common good – which our recent history teaches us will only lead to greater recourse to arms and authoritarianism and a worsening malaise in society.

We are thankful that here in the archdiocese, there are only isolated reports of Tokhang killings, thanks to the conscientious guidelines of our local government officials and police officers. On the other hand, our integral intervention on the drug menace, especially the community-based rehabilitation programs, often run jointly by LGUs, NGOs and church groups, have shown that a significant number of Persons with Substance Use Disorder can be treated and empowered to live again productive lives.

Our respect for the dignity of every human life also leads us to condole over the loss of lives in the ongoing Marawi crisis – especially the killing of innocent civilians, Muslim or Christian, and military personnel in defense of the country’s sovereignty against wanton terrorism.

For these reasons, I am appealing to all our churches and communities to revive the tradition of ringing the “De Profundis” bells at 8:00 every evening and to say the prayers for the dead. Let this be our sign of protest against extra-judicial killings in the “war on drugs.” Let this also be our call to prayer until the end of Martial Law – in solidarity with all the affected families in the Marawi crisis, especially those who have lost loved ones.

From the depths of our hearts, de profundis, may the God of Compassion and Mercy be our constant guide in the campaign against drugs and terrorism.