‘Stop systematic murders, reign of terror’ – CBCP

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CBCP President Socrates Villegas delivers the homily during the Eucharistic celebration at the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy. Photo by Maria Charisse Ann G. Refuerzo

THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday called for an end to extrajudicial killings, and condemned the “remorselessness” with which the lives of three teenagers — Kian de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman were snuffed out.

“Kian, Carl, Reynaldo…they were young boys, enjoying life, loving sons of parents who doted on them. Now an entire nation knows them by name because their lives have been snuffed out so cruelly, their dreams and aspirations forever consigned to the sad realm of ‘what could have been but never will be,'” the CBCP Permanent Council said in a statement signed by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

The statement said “the toll of ‘murders under investigation’ must stop now.”

“In the name of God, stop the killings! May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings!” the council said.

Echoing Pope John Paul II’s statement that murder is a violation of the “spiritual” kinship uniting mankind as a family and where equal dignity is rooted, the CBCP said that labeling people by their offenses was an indirect participation in murder.

“When we label members of our society because of the offenses they commit – or that we impute rightly or wrongly against them – as ‘unsalvageable’, ‘irremediable’, ‘hopelessly perverse’ or ‘irreparably damaged’, then it becomes all the easier for us to consent to their elimination if not to participate outright in their murder,” the statement said.

The bishops called for a 40-day period of praying the Holy Rosary, reviving the De Profundis bell or ringing of bells at 8 p.m., and lighting candles for victims of violence and the war in Marawi City from Sept. 23 to Nov. 1.

Almsgiving and giving aid for the schooling of orphaned children of the victims of killings are concrete actions to begin a healing process, the CBCP said.

“We intend to offend none but the evil in our midst. We are angry at none but the indifference amongst us. We fight the darkness not with a spark of bullets but with the light of Christ. We beg for prayers and we ask for a change of heart in all of us,” the bishops said.

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