AS HE closed the doors of the St. Peter’s Basilica marking the end of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy last Nov. 20, Pope Francis reminded the people that the true door of Mercy would remain perpetually open for the people.
On Dec. 8, 2015, which also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the Jubilee Year of Mercy was a reminder to the Christian faithful to extend mercy to everyone, just as Christ did so.
But despite the Pope’s exhortation, Filipinos seem to have a bloody concept of mercy toward drug suspects. For Filipinos, it seems, mercy toward drug suspects means shooting them down, in the twisted spirit of “mercy killing.”
How else could one read Filipinos’ overwhelming support for President Duterte’s all-out war on drugs, in which at least 6,000 people have been killed, one-half by the Philippine National Police, and the other half by vigilante groups not one of whom have been brought to justice?
While the Pope has called on the faithful to practice out-of-bounds-mercy, Filipinos, many of them Catholics, have gone out of bounds to support extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
In the recent World Apostolic Congress on Mercy hosted by the Philippines, Church officials expressed disappointment over the lack of vigorous Filipino Catholic concern over, much less opposition to, the alarming number of the extrajudicial killings in the country.
Manila Archbishop Luis Cardinal Tagle urged the people to show mercy to parents who lost their children in the rampant war on drugs. He urged Filipinos to foster the culture of mercy and reaffirm the sanctity of life.
UST itself was one of the key sites where delegates gathered during the Mercy congress.
Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., a former rector of the University, said in his column in the Manila Bulletin that through the anti-drug war, the moral sensibility of Filipinos was slowly wavering as deaths and murders were merely referred to by President Duterte as “collateral damage,” and Filipinos seemed to accept the excuse.
Duterte meanwhile has savaged the Church, saying the Church has “no moral ascendancy” on the issue since it has allegedly not done anything about the drug menace. But the Church has always extended mercy to drug suspect through patient care and rehabilitation, not finishing them off .
After all, the Church does not have guns: guns are a monopoly of gunromancers such as Duterte; violence is a monopoly of the PNP, Armed Forces, and the Philippine state. Violence is a monopoly of the Philippine state. But Filipino Catholics, some of them even from the clergy and religious, seem not to mind if state violence is turned against the citizenry based on a mad man’s vision of eradicating the drug menace. They seem suddenly blasé that they’ve given their wholehearted accord to a wholesale violation of the Fifth Commandment. They
seem not to be aware that they’ve joined Cain’s cause: they have blood on their hands.
May God have mercy on them!