Church must challenge death penalty bill, summary killings — seminary rector

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THE RECTOR of a major seminary has defended the Church in its vocal opposition to the death penalty and summary killings despite being criticized by politicians for meddling in state affairs.

In his lecture last March 24 at the Benavides Auditorium, Fr. Emmanuel Cruz, Rector of Immaculate Conception Major Seminary, said the Church must challenge government policies “to criticize or affirm the moral dimension.”

“Prudence cannot be used in order to hide the obligation of the leaders among us to speak against a very blatant disrespect for life. When you do not talk, it does not mean you are just prudent about it,” said Cruz, talking about the reimposition of death penalty and the rising number of drug-related extrajudicial killings in the country.

Amid the silence of some clergy, Cruz reminded priests to put the faithful’s moral and spiritual needs first and set aside personal discomfort.

“You’ll be carrying the prayers of your people. You will be representing them before Him,” he said.

Social media, a ‘gift’

Cruz urged priests, seminarians and members of the laity to use social media as a new method of evangelization.

“[Social media] is the advancement in the science of communications. It is a gift, but we must distinguish the proper use of these [technologies] that will benefit our work of evangelization,” he said.

“Beware of the tendency that media, social media can also be used for the new age movement which is actually anti-God and anti-Christian,” he said.

Cruz reminded priests and seminarians of their role in representing Christ to the faithful.

“You are representing Him before the Church, before your congregation and before your assembly. In other words, people will judge you or appreciate you because they see the whole Sacrament in your human actions,” he said.

Cruz’s talk was part of the annual Schillebeeckx lecture, organized by the Faculty of Sacred Theology and Theological Society. This year’s theme was “The Christology of Edward Schillebeeckx: Christ and the Challenges of the Digital Age.”

The event takes its name from the late Dominican progressive theologian Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, who served as an adviser to Dutch bishops during the Second Vatican Council.

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