THE CATHOLIC Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has hit back at those who use the bible to defend the revival of capital punishment in the country, following the passage of the death penalty bill at the House of Representatives.
“To the people who use the Bible to defend death penalty, need we point out how many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same Bible?” the CBCP said in a pastoral letter, which was read as a homily for Sunday masses on March 19, the third Sunday of Lent.
“We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a progressive revelation of God’s will to humankind, with its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ,” the statement, signed by CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, added.
Jesus, the CBCP said, “was never an advocate of any form of ‘legal killing.’ He defended the adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her.”
In January, during a privilege speech, Senator Manny Pacquiao defended the need to reimpose death penalty, citing bible verses and reportedly saying that even Jesus Christ was sentenced to death by the government.
The CBCP appealed to members of the Senate to vote against the measure once debates begin in the upper chamber.
“Let us pray fervently for the legislators of our country as they prepare to vote on death penalty in the Philippine Senate … to touch their consciences and lead them to abolish capital punishment once and for all,” the statement read.
The CBCP reiterated that capital punishment “has never been proven effective as a deterrent to crime.”
It added that death penalty contradicts the “basic human right to life, which is enshrined in most constitutions of countries that signed the universal declaration of human rights.”
Last March 7, the House of Representatives, in a vote of 217-54 and one abstention, approved on third reading House Bill 4727, which seeks to reimpose capital punishment on drug-related offenses.