Archdiocese launches rosary campaign amid China’s aggression

June 25, 2024 - 10:58 AM
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Image by Thérèse Westby via Unsplash

A Catholic archdiocese is using a special weapon against China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea: the rosary.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, in a pastoral letter, urged Catholics to engage in a “Rosary Campaign” from June 27 to the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15.

He also encouraged acts of penance and supererogation “with particular intensity” during this period.

“May the power of the rosary preserve our nation’s faith and freedom. May the power of the rosary crush the serpent’s head! May the power of the rosary drive away Satan’s power from our shores,” Villegas said.

The archbishop invites Catholics not just in his archdiocese but throughout the country to join in the prayer activity.

“May God be honored by all that we do for our country, our people and their future; for our faith and our Church, for the freedom to believe and the freedom to worship as we believe,” Villegas added.

Calling China a “threat”, he voiced concern over its increasingly assertive actions in the disputed territories. He said China shows no fear and no hesitation “in inching menacingly close to the Philippines.”

He lamented China’s encroachment on Philippine maritime zones, displacement of fishermen, and environmental degradation by building islands and militarized structures.

“There is evidence of insidious attempts by a foreign power that governs by an ideology that recognizes no God and keeps all religion and the practice of faith under the heavy heel of its totalitarian boot to ‘trample our sacred shores,’” Villages said.

He also expressed concern about government infiltration by individuals paid by Beijing or Filipinos benefiting from China, endangering the country’s sovereignty.

“It is not impossible for foreigners with malicious intent to acquire documentation allowing them not only entry but residence in the Philippines, perhaps even to pass themselves off as natural-born Filipino citizens and, thus, qualify for public office,” said Villegas.

Amidst these challenges, the archbishop urged various sectors to defend the country. He called on lawmakers to conduct thorough investigation into Chinese infiltration in government and local institutions.

He also urged prosecutors and judges to uphold justice, stressing the need to prosecute anyone who has undermined legal and administrative processes, risking national security and interests.

The archbishop also urged the uniformed personnel patrolling Philippine waters to protect Filipino fishermen, uphold national sovereignty, and safeguard the country’s territory and seas.

Addressing the ordinary Filipinos, especially those in his archdiocese, he encouraged them “to stand proud and tall and not to cower in fear”.