CATHOLICS should be firm in criticizing injustices and engaging in social issues, Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said on Monday as President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the nation.

Huwag tayong matakot na magsalita at kumilos. Kailangang sabihin ang katotohanan. Kailangang pairalin ang katarungan,” Pabillo said in his homily during the Mass for Peace and Justice, read by Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.

(Let us not be afraid to speak up and to act. The truth must prevail. Justice must prevail.)

Coronel stood in for Pabillo, who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Pabillo called on the faithful to speak out about the country’s situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Huwag tayong magwalang-kibo sa nangyayari sa ating bansa [dahil] hindi natin masasabi na mahal ko ang aking kapuwa kung wala tayong pagmamahal sa bayan. [H]indi tayo maaaring maging mabubuting Kristiyano kung hindi tayo mabubuting mamamayan,” he said.

(Let us not brush off what is happening in our country because we cannot say that we love our neighbors if we do not love our country. We cannot be good Christians if we are not good citizens.)

In a Eucharistic celebration at Santisimo Rosario Parish in UST, Fr. Paul Talavera, O.P. said Filipinos could become patriotic and faithful even during difficult times.

Hindi magkasalungat ‘yong pagiging makabayan at pagiging maka-Diyos. Being makabayan can be expressed as being maka-Diyos and the other way around especially during this time of the pandemic. Kailangan natin magtulungan, kailangan natin ng unity. We need peace, we need justice to prevail in our country,” Talavera said during his homily.

(Patriotism and faithfulness are not opposite of each other. Being patriotic can be expressed as being faithful to God and the other way around especially during this time of the pandemic. We need to work together, we need unity. We need peace, we need justice to prevail in our country.)

On July 26, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) urged the faithful to make a stand amid pain and suffering as well as hatred and division.

“It is time again to make a stand, speak up and be counted…in solidarity with all of the oppressed peoples of this world but never at the cost of the dignity of the Filipino nor the sovereignty of our nation,” Fr. Cielito Almazan, O.F.M and Sister Marilyn Java, AMRSP co-chairpersons, said in a statement.

Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, firing back at critics and reviving a push for the death penalty. He also spoke about reopening of the economy, online education and the priority bills that lawmakers should focus on amid the pandemic.