29 May, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 06/05/2013
PHILIPPINES
Filipino bishops against gun-toting priests and missionaries
Signed into law on 29 May, the new Act is designed to check the illegal arms trade, especially on the island of Mindanao. For the prelates, carrying guns is incompatible with the Christian faith and the Church's religious mission.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) - Filipino bishops have criticised the new government decree authorising priests and religious, especially in high-risk areas, to carry guns and rifles. For the prelates "going around with weapons, even in self-defence, is incompatible with the Christian faith."

"The missionaries are by definition non-violent and are protected by holy angels, not weapons," said Mgr Arturo Bastes, bishop of Sorgoson. Mgr Honesto Ongtioco, bishop of Cubao (Quezon City), agrees. "As priests," he explained, "our vocation and our role in the transformation of society are different from those of secular activists. We must be concerned about our mission among the faithful, not for our own safety."

Signed by the president on 29 May, the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act makes it easier for activists, journalists, doctors and religious leaders to carry weapons. The latter are often the victims of kidnapping, summary executions and robberies by groups of terrorists or criminals.

The decree applies only to some parts of the country, most notably Sulu and Basilan provinces (Mindanao), which are strongholds of the Islamic extremist group Abu-Sayyaf.

Sources in Mindanao told AsiaNews that the law "is designed primarily to check the illegal arms trade, which has the island as one of its hubs." Adding the religious to the list is a way of inviting all those who operate in those areas to travel with caution. However, "it is a sign of insecurity that prevails in some areas of the country, where not even priests, who work for peace, are spared the violence of criminal groups."

For several years, the authorities have tried to get bishops and foreign missionaries working in Mindanao to accept armed escorts when they receive threats from extremist groups or criminals.

Religious have tended to turn down the offer because "Travelling with armed soldiers limits their testimony amid the people who face such dangers every day as a result of more than 40 years of war between the Filipino army and Islamic rebels," sources told AsiaNews, confirming what Filipino bishops said.

In recent years, several priests and religious have been murdered or abducted by criminal gangs or terrorist groups.

The most recent case was that of Fr Fausto Tentorio, 59, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Arakan Valley (Mindanao), who was gunned down on 17 October 2011.

He was the third PIME missionary murdered in the Philippines. The other martyrs were Fr Tullio Favalli killed in 1985 in the Diocese of Kidapawan, and Fr Salvatore Carzedda, who was involved in talks with Muslims, murdered in 1992 in Zamboanga. (S.C.)


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
01/16/2009 PHILIPPINES
MILF condemns humanitarian workers abduction as no one claims responsibility
12/21/2007 PHILIPPINES
Muslim patrols to protect churches in Mindanao
by Santosh Digal
07/21/2007 PHILIPPINES
Claretian missionaries promoting a programme of collaboration and development
by Santos Digal
05/04/2009 PHILIPPINES
UN-backed report says Philippines had highest number of newly displaced people in 2008
by Santosh Digal
08/04/2008 PHILIPPINES
Supreme Court blocks peace deal between MILF and government
by Santosh Digal

Editor's choices
ASIA
Vigil for persecuted Christians, our teachers in the mission in the West
by Bernardo CervelleraThe "wall of indifference and cynicism" and the silence and apathy so often denounced by Pope Francis have become almost a fortress. Such persecution reflects confessional manipulation, which slams Islam as such, and ideological manipulation, which forgets what is happening in North Korea or China. An increasingly post-Christian Europe seems disinterested in Christians.
RUSSIA – CHINA
Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory
by Marta AllevatoMetropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.
VATICAN
Pope: We and the four new saints, witnesses of the Resurrection "where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident "Francis proclaims four religious sisters saints: one French, one Italian, two Palestinians: Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary, and the Carmelite Maria of Crucified Jesus (nee Maria Bawardy). Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority present. "Abiding in Christ" and cultivating “unity among us" are essential signs of witness. Maria Bawardy, "instrument of encounter and communion with the Muslim world".

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.