02/05/2020, 16.27
PHILIPPINES
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Coronavirus: Bishop Pabillo calls for solidarity and prayer, warns against fear

The Auxiliary Bishop of Manila releases a message on the global health emergency. “All through history,” he writes, “we have seen that plagues have been stopped not only through medical means but also through prayers and great acts of charity.”

Manila (AsiaNews) – At a time when the world's attention is centred on the coronavirus outbreak, Catholics should not to be afraid but should instead take care of themselves and others, including by means of prayer, this according to Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Soncuaco Pabillo (picture) of Manila.

In a message posted yesterday on social media, the prelate, who chairs the Commission for the Laity of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), notes that “To be concerned, however, does not mean to be afraid, much less to feel helpless. Proper, timely and true information is needed to avoid this. False news can cause panic on one hand, and it can also create complacency on the other hand.

Bishop Pabillo acknowledges that "the situation is serious", but steps have already been put in place to stop the spread of the virus.

After telling people what to do to avoid contagion, the prelate stresses that “The common good and the safety of the people should be the primary consideration of governments and institutions, not political expediencies, much less profit concerns.

For this reason, “true and timely information is to be given to all. This includes not only the extent of the spread and the death caused, but also those who have recovered and the cures that are being discovered.

In fact, “We need not only bad news but also good news, and the latter also abound.” Indeed, “It is important that information be given about the initiatives being taken to show solidarity and concern to all.”

For example, “It is very heart-warming that the Vatican State, small as it is, has sent more than 600,000 medical masks to the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang and Fujian [. . .] Inspiring gestures such as these should multiply and create a global solidarity.”

Bishop Pabillo also urges Christians to make their contribution through prayer. “All through history we have seen that plagues have been stopped not only through medical means but also through prayers and great acts of charity.

“Wherever we are, in whatever state of life, in sickness and in health, we all can pray. Let us implore the Heavenly Power to protect us, to stem the spread of the disease, to cure the infected, to receive the souls of those who have died and to comfort the bereaved. This is a big resource that we Christians have – the power of solidarity in prayer and in charity.”

Meanwhile this morning, the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a third case of 2019-nCoV contagion. Currently, 133 people are undergoing checks to determine if they have contracted the virus. The Philippines is the first country to experience a death after China.

For its part, the CBCP issued a circular on 29 January to all the dioceses with instructions on how to counter the spread of the virus.

It also began an Oratio Imperata for people affected by the virus and to prevent a global epidemic. Starting last Sunday, the prayer is recited during Mass on weekdays and week-ends after communion, on one's knees.

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