CBCP president calls for ‘hopeful Christmas’ amid summary killings

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THE HEAD of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called for a “hopeful” Christmas despite nearly 6,000 killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

In a pastoral letter titled “Feast of beauty and hope,” CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas described the alarming number of suspected criminals killed in the first six months of Duterte’s presidency as “ugliness.”

“Christmas comes to [us] as a feast of beauty but we are not blind and numb to the ugliness that has come upon us. We have Christmas but there is blood spilling on our streets and sidewalks,” Villegas said in the pastoral letter.

The 56-year-old prelate lamented that people have become “angry,” leading to a “culture of revenge.”

“Anger has become so common and ordinary that the culture of revenge is slowly enchaining us. Anger pushes us to pursue the illusion that we must kill in order to defend life,” Villegas said.

Season of Hospitality

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his Christmas message, urged Filipinos to show hospitality to the poor.

“We Filipinos claim that hospitality is second nature to us. We make strangers or guests feel at home in our company … I pray [that] our Christmas may make us more hospitable or welcoming to others, especially the poor and needy. Will we make room for them?” Tagle said.

Christmas, he said, is a reminder of hospitality denied by people but reversed by the merciful hospitality offered by God.

“Let [us] welcome Jesus in the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick, naked and prisoners so that one day we may enjoy the hospitality of God,” Tagle said.

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