New Palawan bishop welcomed to the ‘fraternity of hypocrites’

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Feb. 10, 2017– A new bishop for Catholics in Palawan  has been ordained and installed at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral here on Friday.

More than 2,000 bishops, priests, religious men and women and lay people attended the ordination and installation of now Bishop Socrates Mesiona.

In his homily, CBCP President Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan welcomed the new prelate to the “fraternity of hypocrites, to the fraternity of shameless leaders.”

The archbishop did not mention President Rodrigo Duterte, but “warned” Mesiona on being called names “and maligned while some throw mud at you.”

In several occasions, Duterte launched vulgar attacks against the Church for criticizing the extrajudicial killings as a result of his bloody war on drugs.

He also lambasted the Catholic Church as “the most hypocritical institution.”

The CBCP head said Bishop Mesiona should “remain firm because God alone is our judge.” 

“In the sunset of our lives, it is not the peoples clap that would qualify you to the Father’s house as it is what the Father says about you that truly makes us who we are,” Villegas added.

Villegas added that  everyone is expected to be faithful and that faith “does not grow in the garden of comfort and convenience.” 

He also said that faithfulness grows in the Via Crucis as it grows best on the path to Calvary.

Born in Tagbilaran City on Sept. 17,1963, Mesiona was ordained priest of April 14,1989 at age 25 as a member of the Mission Society of the Philippines, where he also served as its former Superior General.

Bishop Mesiona also acquired his Licentiate in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Italy in 1996.

The 53-year old bishop also served as executive secretary of the CBCP’s Commission on Mission and national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the Philippines.

Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was principal consecrator with Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, SVD, and Apostolate Vicar of Taytay Bishop Edgardo  Juanich as con-consecrators.

Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI and some 30 archbishops and bishops attended the three-hour rites.

Government functionaries led by Palawan Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez, military and police commanders along with local government unit leaders, the clergy and religious in the Apostolic Vicariate also gave their homage and obedience to the new bishop. (Melo M. Acuna/CBCPNews)