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Should priests carry guns? ‘Bishops have the last word’

Should priests carry guns? ‘Bishops have the last word’

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan

By Roy Lagarde

June 21, 2018

Manila, Philippines

While the position of the Catholic hierarchy is clear, a church official said that priests cannot carry guns without the approval of their bishop.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan reminded priests who want to carry firearms that the local ordinaries have the last word.

“Let’s see if there’s a single bishop who would allow them to do so,” said David, Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“It is those priests themselves who are duty-bound to seek permission from their bishops to carry firearms. Even the priests serving in the Military Ordinariate need their bishop’s permission to carry firearms,” he said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said that more than 240 priests and pastors are applying for permit to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) from June 2017 to date.

According to PNP chief Oscar Albayalde, 188 of them are Catholic priests and 58 are ministers and pastors from other Christian churches.

Several members of the CBCP have already rejected the idea of arming priests to protect themselves amid recent killings against clergymen.

Even the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) was not amenable to the idea, saying that it would be contrary to their belief that society needs peace, not violence.

“That would only attract violence as violence attracts violence,” said Bishop Noel Pantoja, PCEC National Director. “Carrying guns won’t be necessary as it is the Lord who will protect us.”