Archive for June 2016
PASTORAL APPEAL TO OUR LAW ENFORCERS
Appeal to Reason and Humanity. Seek peace and pursue it (Ps.34:14)
Brothers and sisters enforcers of the law:
Peace be with you!
We commend you, our law enforcers, on your new-found earnestness in enforcing the law and in apprehending malefactors, but we are disturbed by an increasing number of reports that suspected drug-peddlers, pushers and others about whom reports of criminal activity have been received, have been shot, supposedly because they resist arrest.
It is equally disturbing that vigilantism seems to be on the rise. Media has carried reports of bodies, apparently of homicide or murder victims, showing up on whom placards announcing their supposed crimes are writ large!
Appeal to Humanity in Us
As your bishops, we offer the following guidelines:
1. One can “shoot to kill” solely on the ground of legitimate self-defense or the defense of others. Law and jurisprudence have sufficiently spelled out the elements of self-defense, and for purposes of Catholic morality, it is necessary to emphasize that you, as law enforcers, can “shoot to kill” only first, when there is unjust provocation; second, when there is a real, not only conjectural, threat to your life or to the lives and safety of others; third, when there is due proportion between the threat posed and your own use of a firearm aimed at the threatening subject.
2. To kill a suspect outright, no matter how much surveillance work may have antecedently been done on the suspect, is not morally justified. Suspicion is never the moral equivalent of certainty, and punishment may be inflicted only on the ground of certainty.
3. When the arrest of a suspect is attempted, and the suspect endeavors to flee or to escape from the scene, every attempt by non-lethal means should be made to stop the suspect from fleeing and if shot at, every attempt should be made to spare the fleeing suspect from death, unless the escape of such a victim clearly and immediately puts others in harm’s way.
4. It is never morally permissible to receive reward money to kill another. When bounty-hunting takes the form of seeking out suspects of crime, killing them, then presenting proof of the death of the object of the hunt to the offeror of the reward, one is hardly any different from a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, no matter that the object of one’s manhunt should be a suspected offender.
5. It is the moral duty of every Catholic, every Christian, in fact, to report all forms of vigilantism of which they have personal knowledge. For greater reason is it a duty to keep away from any participation and any form of cooperation with vigilantes and vigilante movements.
We Must Fight Criminality But…
The impunity with which offenders of the law carry on with their criminal activity also points out flaws in our criminal justice system but remembering that the community is as much a pillar of this system as are all other components, members of the Community — Christians especially — should not be too quick to point accusing fingers at law-enforcers, prosecutors and judges. We must all ask ourselves whether or not by our silence, our indifference, or worse, our acts, we may have contributed to the proliferation of crime and the increase in criminal activity.
We understand the difficulties that law-enforcers face, the daily risk to life and limb, but not only civil society but also the Church counts on them for the flourishing of a society where all enjoy the blessings of a regime under laws that are just and institutions that are fair.
We beg our prosecutors and judges to remain firm in their consecration to justice, for there can be no greater insult to the Creator than to use the gifts of intelligence, discernment and one’s success at legal studies for ends contrary to builds the Body of Christ and contributes the building of the Kingdom of God. “To all to whom much has been given, much will be expected.”
Do Not Set God Aside
God never gave up on us. We have no right giving up on ourselves or on our brothers and sisters. Jesus came to restore the harmony of Paradise. Let no one ever raise his hand against his brother or sister, for the blood that is shed — even if it be the blood of one we suspect of crime — cries to heaven for justice!
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Intramuros, Manila, June 20, 2016
+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan President, CBCP
Are we still at ease with silence? Has the noise of violence and terror drowned the voice of quiet conscience? Do we always interpret silence as fear of the cowards; the destiny imposed on the unwilling mute; the refuge of the guilty?
It is not always so.
There is nobility in silence like the silence of the lambs brought to slaughter in the temple to atone for sins. There is the silence of the desert mystics that pierced the hidden secrets of the heart of God. There is the silence of the woman who treasured all those things in her heart. Silence indeed is the language of God and only those who speak silence will be able to grasp Him.
Mine is the silence of Jesus before the arrogance of Pilate. Mine is the silence of the tears from mourning trying to fathom the mystery of death. Mine is the silence of prayer contemplating the divine mysteries. Mine is the silence of the bud blooming quietly without calling attention to itself. Mine is the silence of a hopeful mother waiting to give birth to her infant. Mine is the language of peace that refuses the dark magic of revenge. Mine is the silence of the vigilant waiting for destiny to unfold. Mine is the silence of respect for those who consider us their enemies but whose good we truly pray for and whose happiness we want to see unfold.
There is virtue in silence. There is virtue in speech. Wisdom is knowing when it is time for silence and when is the timing for speech.
You can understand my speech if you speak the language of silence. You can understand my silence if you know how to love like Him who was born one silent night.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
June 1, 2016
Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
RE: Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen Dagupan
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor ELMER MANGALINAO titular bishop of Urusi and auxiliary bishop of Lingayen Dagupan. His appointment is a blessing for us in our archdiocese. Prior to his appointment, he was a priest of the Diocese of Cabanatuan.
As we await his episcopal ordination and the day of his arrival in our archdiocese, liturgical norms prescribe that we include his name in the Eucharistic Prayer.
In the English form, after mentioning Pope Francis, the presider says “Socrates our bishop, Elmer his assistant bishop and all the clergy”.
In the Pangasinan form, the liturgical text will be “tan si Socrates ya Obispo mi, si Elmer a katulongan to, tan amin a clero.”
In the succeeding weeks, we shall receive more information about his ordination and his liturgical reception among us. He will certainly reside and hold office at the Cathedral of Saint John in Dagupan City.
Please pray for him and pray for me. I assure you of my prayers too.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan