Filipino bishops reprimanded for pastoral letter

Conservative elements of the Church in the Philippines have accused the bishops of getting too political after they released a recent pastoral letter condemning reported attempts by an election candidate to whitewash abuses under late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

March 04, 2022

Bishops during a mass at the end of the first day of the Fifth Philippine Conference on New Evangelization in Manila, July 18, 2018. (Vatican News Photo/Martina Summer Dagal)


By Joseph Peter Cajella

Conservative elements of the Church in the Philippines have accused the bishops of getting too political after they released a recent pastoral letter condemning reported attempts by an election candidate to whitewash abuses under late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

The bishops released the letter last week on the anniversary of the People Power Revolution, referring to the upcoming national elections in May.

He told Catholics not to be swayed by propaganda apparently coming from the camp of presidential favorite Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the dictator’s son, saying the years of martial law were “golden years” in the Philippine history.

However, an Opus Dei priest and newspaper columnist criticized the bishops’ letter, calling it divisive not only within the Catholic Church but also in society as a whole.

This letter “causes great division among the people. Bishops may have to rethink before things get worse,” Fr. Roy Amora Cimagala said in his column for the Mindanao Gold Star Daily.

He said priests should avoid taking an active part in politics.

“It is not the role of Church pastors to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens,” he said.

According to Father Cimagala, involvement in politics reduces priestly roles in temporal rather than spiritual undertakings.

“A reduction of [a priest’s] mission to temporal tasks of a purely social or political nature is alien to his ministry and does not constitute a triumph but rather a grave loss for the evangelical fruitfulness of the Church,” he said. ucanews.com

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