Religious superiors call Sr. Fox’s detention ‘harassment’

Religious superiors call Sr. Fox’s detention ‘harassment’

Activists hold images of Sr. Patricia Fox as they protest harassment and intimidation of human rights advocates during a rally in Manila, April 17, 2018. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

April 19, 2018

Manila, Philippines

An influential group of church leaders has assailed government authorities for using their power against Sr. Patricia Fox, an Australian missionary in the Philippines.

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines said the detention and possible deportation of Fox are forms of “harassment” against people pushing for social justice.

“But we in the AMRSP stand our ground,” said co-chairpersons Franciscan Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM, and Sr. Regina Kuizon of the Religious of the Good Shepherd in a statement.

“We continue to obey God’s mandate to quench the thirst for justice and peace in our country,” they said.

The 71-year-old nun who spent a day detained for “illegal political activities” has been released on April 17.

But the immigration bureau held her passport as her case has not been dismissed and will be investigated further.

The AMRSP urged the government to respect the rights of Fox and their mission partners who work for justice in the country.

“Sr. Pat is a missionary for life, human rights and justice. She can only be considered undesirable alien to those who seek to muzzle the truth and foist tyranny upon us,” the church leaders added.

“Even in her old age, Sr. Pat is fulfilling her prophetic mission to be in solidarity with the poor and powerless. And for this, she should be commended, not deported or harassed,” they also said.

The AMRSP has been at the forefront in all the political upheavals in the country.

The group also played a crucial role during the martial law years when it opened the doors of its seminaries and convents to provide refuge to victims of human rights.