Persecuting the Catholic Church

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2016


THE persecution of the Catholic Church in the Philippines remains rampant and it includes attempts to stop church leaders from getting involved in socio-political affairs, an official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Monday.
“The separation of the church and state is a mandate of the Philippine Constitution.  But there is nothing in church law that bans us from guiding people with political education,” CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas told a press conference during the launch of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)-Philippines.
Villegas said the church could not be silenced as it would mean “betraying our mission. It is not in the nature of the church to stay quiet because the mandate that we received from the Lord before he ascended to heaven is to go and tell all nations the gospel and baptize in the name of the father, of the son and the Holy Spirit.”
Asked if the government is behind such persecution, Villegas said there is not one group responsible for it. “The persecution of the church can even happen because of insiders in the church. It is not limited to the government, atheists and non-Catholics. It happens. As I said, for 2,000 years the church had always been persecuted. This is not new to us,” he said. 
Villegas said bashing in social media and fake websites, where “truth is made to appear as a lie and lies are made to appear as truth” are other forms of persecution of the church. 
“That is a culture of rationalization, false reasons to make something sinful look good. Persecution does not always result in bloodshed. Sometimes it can take the form of a good name destroyed, threatened, silenced or ostracized. It’s also happening in our country,” he said.
Villegas also cited the suffering of Catholics in Mindanao where priests and missionaries are being kidnapped for ransom.
He said this is the reason why the Catholic Church in the Philippines welcomes the establishment of ACN in the country.  The group serves persecuted Catholics around the world. 

‘Hakot’ system allowed during registration: Comelec

 At least for the voters’ registration, the Commission on Elections has no problem with politicians bringing people to local Comelec offices. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the law prohibits the “hakot system” only during election day.
However, Jimenez said they would not allow politicians to demand that the people they bring to register would be given priority.
“Sometimes in their eagerness to ensure that the people they transport will be registered, they end up badgering the Comelec… That is foul. They cannot do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said the poll body would accommodate requests for satellite voters’ registration as long as the requirements are met.
There should be at least 200 applicants and the proposed venue for satellite registration is not owned or leased by a public official or his relative up to the fourth civil degree.


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