THE CHURCH must use all forms of communication at its disposal to counter red-tagging and other attacks against prelates, a Thomasian bishop said.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, Negros Occidental, told the Varsitarian that the Church should engage in dialogue and promote transparency in its teachings as it embarks on a bold mission to protect its own from red-tagging.

“Our Catholic institutions can fight accusations of red-tagging by clearly presenting our sources, inspiration, and motivation of our decisions and actions – our sacred scriptures and tradition, specifically our Catholic Social Teachings,” Alminaza said.

Catholic media, the bishop said, should diligently present facts amid a torrent of false accusations from detractors. 

“Catholic journalists should always instill in themselves and their work the values of truth, justice, integrity, human rights and dignity, preferential love for the poor [and] vulnerable and care for our common home,” he said.

On Feb. 22, Alminaza was accused of being a mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for appealing for the resumption of peace talks, which were halted since November 2017 during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

The accusations were made by Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “appointed son of God”; former anti-communist task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy; and alleged rebel-turned-whistleblower Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz.

Describing the linkage as “demonic and diabolical,” Alminaza said in a statement on Feb. 24 that he refused to be silent on the injustices occurring in Negros Occidental.

Caritas Philippines, the charitable arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, stood by the Negros Occidental prelate, who had called out militarization in his province.

“We stand with Bishop Alminaza in his conviction that pursuing peace should not be one-sided, militarized, or highly politicized,” Caritas Philippines President Bishop Colin Bagaforo said in a statement on March 2. “It should be a peace that echoes Jesus’s command to love and encompasses justice for the victims of violence and injustice.”

Alminaza pursued theology at UST from 1981 to 1984. He was installed as the third bishop of San Carlos on Nov. 18, 2013.

The bishop called on the Church to remain unfazed by criticism in communicating with the faithful, no matter how controversial or perilous the issue.

“The Church should adhere both to gospel-preaching and journalism with all the risks involved if the Church doesn’t want to lose our prophetic voice,” he said.


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