Negros bishops hit ‘cycle of violence’; issue oratio imperata vs killings

Negros bishops hit ‘cycle of violence’; issue oratio imperata vs killings

By Roy Lagarde

July 27, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The four Catholic bishops of Negros Island has joined voices to urge an end to the “unfolding cycle of violence” in the region.

In a collegial pastoral statement issued Saturday, the bishops denounced the “so much blood that has already been spilled in the island”.

The church leaders said they cannot be silent against “this total disregard for the primacy and sanctity of human life”.

“The blood of those killed cries to be heard. It calls out to our basic humanity to be one with those who have been afflicted by this violence,” they said.

The bishops made the statement after 21 people were killed in Negros Occidental in the last 10 days alone.

The Defend Negros #Stop the Killings Network said it had recorded 74 victims of extrajudicial killings on Negros Island since January 2017.

The prelates said nine of these killings occurred on Oct. 20, 2018; six on Dec. 27, 2018; and 14 on March 30, 2019.

“And this is just to cite a few,” they said. “Nevertheless, these numbers fill us with deep sadness.”

The statement was signed by bishops Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, Julito Cortes of Dumaguete, Patricio Buzon of Bacolod and Louie Galbines of Kabankalan.

Bishop Alminaza has earlier ordered the tolling of church bells in all the parishes of his diocese to protest the continued killings of farmers and human rights workers.

To dramatize their support, the three other bishops Negros also called on their parishes, chaplaincies, mission stations and religious houses to do the same at starting this Sunday, July 28, at 8pm.

“In the stillness of night, the tolling of the bells signifies our communion as Church. We are to remember those who have gone before us – including those whose lives have been snuffed by these killings – they, who are our brothers and sisters,” they added.

They also issued an “Oratio Imperata to End Killings” to be prayed by the faithful during Masses “until the killings stop”.

“We ask God to disturb those who are responsible for this evil and have blood in their hands that they may have a change of heart and be renewed. CBCPNEWS


O God, our Father,
who hears the cries of Your children,
look upon us in Your mercy.
We pray that we be delivered from the evil of the killings that stalks our island.
It is a violence that has deprived our people of peace;
a violence that has orphaned many families; and
a violence that has traumatized and instilled paralyzing fear
in our communities.

Stretch out your loving hands, O Father,
and move us so that we may truly be our ‘ brother’s keeper’.
Embolden our government officials to speak out against the killings.
Challenge our police and military personnel
to fully embrace their mandate to serve and protect the people.
Empower our communities to stand
for the sanctity and primacy of life.
Disturb those responsible for this evil and have blood in their hands,
especially the ones who are impelled by their ideological agenda.
May they have a change of heart and be renewed.

Be with us, O Lord,
so that, in these dark times,
we may have the courage to be instruments of Your peace.

This we ask through Jesus Your Son, the Prince of Peace, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, one God, forever and ever.

Mary, Queen of Peace and Mother of life, pray for us.
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Patron Saint of the Diocese of Dumaguete, pray for us.

St. Charles Borromeo, Patron Saint of the Diocese of San Carlos, pray for us.

St. Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of the Diocese of Kabankalan, pray for us.

St. Sebastian, Patron Saint of the Diocese of Bacolod, pray for us.