President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the Church would collaborate for the sake of Filipinos, but would be vigilant at the same time. “Pursuing the same vision as Filipinos and as Catholics, we will be vigilant because vigilance is the great price for freedom.”
Manila (AsiaNews/Cbcp) – As the tough-talking President Duterte began his six-year term on Thursday, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the Catholic Church would collaborate for the sake of Filipinos but would be vigilant at the same time.
“Pursuing the same vision as Filipinos and as Catholics, we will be vigilant because vigilance is the great price for freedom… We will offer our critique and denounce error but kindly look at us, not as enemies wanting governments to fall, but as brethren and friends wishing politics to succeed,” CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said on Thursday.
He described politics as a gift of God as it could help attain peace and progress for society, but it has become a “filthy septic tank of waste and dirt.”
“How does it happen that politics becomes a septic tank rather than a mine of gold? It does not happen in a flash. It happens when values are eroded and virtues are compromised,” he said.
He pointed out that politics would be dirty, if there was no accountability and godliness in government, and no ethics in governance.
He urged politicians to be saints and lead lives worth emulating.
“Can politicians be saints? Yes. Kings have become saints serving their kingdoms. Politics can be a mine of sanctity for leaders and their peoples. Politicians are called to be saintly like all of us,” he said.
The tough-talking Duterte has a strained relationship with the Catholic Church, having attacked it several times as a “hypocritical institution.”
Last year, he also cursed Pope Francis for causing traffic jams during his five-day visit to the country, which earned him the ire of Villegas.
Duterte also promised to aggressively promote birth control at the risk of going against the Catholic Church, which rejects artificial forms of family planning.