‘Nobody wants a war,’ says CBCP head amid WPS tension

July 9, 2024 - 1:57 PM
Philippine Coast Guard personnel prepare rubber fenders after Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked their way to a resupply mission at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, March 5, 2024. (Reuters/Adrian Portugal/File Photo/File Photo)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines asked the faithful to pray that peace reign amid the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

At a press conference after their three-day plenary assembly in Cagayan de Oro City, CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said he hoped the issue would be resolved without violence.

“We are not political leaders, we are spiritual and moral leaders and we know that our compatriots, people in the country are getting tense,” David said.

“We do not want to add further fuel to the tension. Nobody wants a war. Our parents were people who experienced, they were part of a generation that were traumatized by second world war,” he said.

David, who is also the bishop of Kalookan, said they do not want a new generation to be harmed by another war.

“Our parents went through… they were part of a generation that was traumatized by the Second World War,” he said.

The CBCP head also disclosed that the Church will release an ‘oratio imperata’ or obligatory prayer focused on peace.

“It will be a prayer for peace. An Oratio Imperata for peace in the context of what is happening in our country, in the geopolitical tension that we are experiencing,” he said.

“We really have to not just work for peace, but to pray for peace,” David added.

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China has been putting more and more pressure on the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea over the past several months.

Prior to the CBCP assembly, the bishops gathered for a three-day retreat at the Transfiguration Abbey in Malaybalay City, where the Vatican’s foreign minister was among the speakers.

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, in a press briefing in Manila on July 2, urged claimants to areas in the West Philippine Sea to “abide by international law” and resolve their differences through peaceful means.

READ: Vatican calls for peaceful resolution of conflicts, including South China Sea disputes

“In such circumstances, such situations of conflict, whatever they are, first of all, that every effort must be made that any differences, conflicts are resolved peacefully,” Gallagher said.