Left to right: Msgr. Gerardo Santos, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas and CBCP vice president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo David (Photos grabbed from the ACN livestream)

Why is the color red being used to tag Christians as terrorists?

Clergymen during the “Red Wednesday” commemoration for persecuted Christians worldwide on Nov. 25 said the color red, especially amid a global pandemic, should instead be used to signify love and healing.

“In this time of pandemic, when those who have recovered can help in the healing process of other infected patients by donating their blood plasma, we can use [the color] red as a symbol that we can heal together as one,”  Caloocan Bishop Pablo David said in an online recollection and concert organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“May red be a symbol of having been vaccinated by the redeeming love of Christ that it also anticipates Christmas for all of us,” he added.

This year’s Red Wednesday was devoted not only to Christians who suffer from religious persecution but also to individuals battling Covid-19 and medical workers in the frontlines.

It was themed “Red Means Love: One Church Against Covid-19.”

“Red [is] the color of blood, martyrdom and fearless witnessing even at the time of social persecution. It is the liturgical color we use to celebrate the passion and life of Jesus,” David, who also serves as vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said.

Fr. Cecilio Vladimir Magboo, O.P., director of UST Hospital Pastoral Care Services, called on Thomasians to find God and be hopeful amid difficulties brought by the pandemic, in a Eucharistic celebration at Santisimo Rosario Parish.

“[C]hristians, such as our frontliners, should trust and put their hope in God [because] He looks tenderly on those who revere him and assures you of His protection and safety in these difficult moments,” Magboo said in his homily.

UST’s Main Building, the Santisimo Rosario Parish’s Martyrs Monument, and the UST Hospital were lit in red after the Mass.

On social media, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged the faithful to wear red and light parishes, buildings or local monuments in red to symbolize the “courage of frontliners, the patient endurance of Covid-19 survivors, and the compassion of God through the Church and His people.”

Some hospitals were also lit in red to commemorate the service of health care workers in combating the deadly coronavirus.

Being firm amid threats

David emphasized the color red as a symbol of protest and social change due to the prevalence of red-tagging among Christians.

“Even some well-known women, religious or church workers, and sometimes bishops have been red-tagged and labeled with the color lately because they have the courage to support some social advocacies,” he said.

David was one of the bishops falsely accused of being a part of a “shadow group” behind a plot against President Rodrigo Duterte, and faced sedition charges in 2019.

The Department of Justice dropped the case on Feb. 10. 

The Red Wednesday campaign is an initiative of ACN, a pontifical foundation and international Catholic charity that supports and helps alleviate the sufferings of Christians around the world who are persecuted, oppressed, and discriminated against because of their faith.

On Jan. 25, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines officially declared “Red Wednesday” as an annual celebration of the Church to stand up for religious freedom and raise awareness of the persecuted Christians worldwide. Ma. Alena O. Castillo and Sophia T. Sadang


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