Laity told: Talk to lawmakers about death penalty
TACLOBAN City – As the country continues to be polarized by national issues, a local priest deemed it necessary for the laity to be “conscienticized and to be pro-active rather than reactive”, particularly by approaching their lawmakers to let them know their anti-death penalty sentiments.
Fr. Erby Davy Lajara, parish priest of San Jose Parish in this city and spiritual director of the Council of Laity of the Archdiocese of Palo, said it would be best if the laity would approach their respective congressmen and lobby against the reimposition of capital punishment in the country.
This, he said, being the sentiment and hope of majority of their constituents.
“Let us explore all possibility that we all help in eradicating all wrongdoings and that those who went meander will be able to be able to straighten up the lives again,” said Lajara, who was once a spiritual director of Family and Life Apostolate in the Archdiocese of Palo.
According to him, the pastoral letter recently issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on extra-judicial killings, corruption, abortion, and the death penalty could provide impetus for the Council of Laity in the archdiocese to be more concerned about such issues, noting its focus on “the spirituality of the members of the Council.”
“I am hoping that all us here in Palo, especially the Council of the Laity, will be active and ‘conscienticized’ and we do something for the good of all,” he said.
The Catholic Church hierarchy in the country has been campaigning hard against the reinstatement of the death penalty to the point of having a recent pastoral statement inspired by Ezekiel 18:32 read during Masses.
He added that at the moment, the Council of the Laity is focusing on coordinating with the different commissions and the basic ecclesial communities for advocacies and education, being its primary mandate.
Proper place, proper time
“It is not a matter of doing what is good because all of us are basically good but on doing good at the proper place and proper time,” explained Lajara.
Lajara suggested three things for the laity to do, especially for those who have fallen into vice, such as illegal drugs, but who could be led back to a good life.
“[First], we have to pray and offer our sacrifices for them; secondly, this is a process that involves the community, that we can show them our concern, understanding and patience making them realize that not because they have erred they will not anymore be given a chance; and thirdly this is a long process thus we should serve as instrument in order for them to change for the better,” he explained.