Three Catholic archbishops have joined voices urging the faithful to “resist” what they described as “a murderous and corrupt public order”.
In a statement, Archbishops Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia, Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, and Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao said that doing so is a moral imperative.
“We have moral duty to resist and correct a culture of murder and plunder as much as the prolonged patter of hiding or destroying the truth,” they said.
But the church leaders called for “non-violent” actions, saying that it is “the only morally acceptable resistance”.
Among these activities, they said, can include peaceful assemblies of dissent, sober discussions of social issues guided by the Gospel, or rallies for honesty and heroism.
The joint statement of Northern Luzon archbishops was read in their respective cathedrals on Sunday, September 12.
The archbishops lamented how the past five years have been marked by rampant killings of drug suspects, journalists, political opponents, lawyers, and even priests.
“It is like living in the valley of death—killing of drug users and opponents; helpless death in the pandemic, death by governance without vision, death by shameless corruption that seems to break all records,” they said.
“The killers are at large and the blind supporters of these murderers applaud the killers,” they added.
The archbishops also criticized the government’s response to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, which already killed more than 34,000 people in the country.
“Incompetence kills people. Ineptitude kills nations and economies. Hunger kills slowly,” they said.
“Bullets kill. Viruses kill. Governance without direction kills. Corruption kills. Trolls kill with fake news. Hunger kills.”
“When will the killings stop? The poor pay for the corruption of the powerful. The nation is sinking in debt,” the prelates added.
The archbishops also supported an ongoing investigation into the alleged poor handling by the Health department of about P67 billion funds meant to respond to the pandemic.
“We commend, bless and encourage the full investigation, by those in authority, of any whiff of corruption; as we also reproach, rebuke and censure those who obstruct the legal process to arrive at truth and justice,” they said.
The archbishops ended their statement with a call for “penitence and atonement for our national and personal sins”.
They said that parishes can organize penitential rosaries and reparation prayers to the Divine Mercy “that the Lord may forgive our murders and our support for murders”.
“May our penitence lead us to generous and courageous works of mercy and charity in our own personal little ways,” they said.