PRUDENCE | Priests take a defensive stance on accusations against the Church

9 months ago

JUNE 13, 2018 – CBCP Public Affairs Committee Executive Secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano said the Church will remain prudent against attacks and criticisms being hurled against them.

“We realize that we are not immune to criticisms. We are not perfect, so we accept the criticisms. After accepting criticisms, we try to overcome these. We don’t want to be silenced; we just want to be prudent. Even if we are being attacked in social media, even if there are many criticisms, still it will not silence us. It will not weaken our resolve to speak for the truth. We want to be prudent in responding to these attacks. We don’t want to go to their level. We have a different approach to it,” Fr. Secillano said on the ‘The Chiefs’ on Cignal TV’s One News channel.

The episode also featured Fr. Aris Sison who feels that the attacks on social media are “organized.”

“It [social media attacks] feels organized. It feels like there’s too many of them all at the same time. You just get the feeling that it’s not just one person doing it. On my part, I tell my friends not to mind it. I myself don’t read at times because it could affect me.” Fr. Sison said.

The recent death of Fr. Richmond Nilo of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija brings to three the number of priests murdered in a span of 6 months.

Fr.Tito Paez was gunned down in Jaen in the same province in December 2017 while Fr. Mark Ventura was slain in Cagayan last April.

When asked if priests feel threatened after the recent slayings, Fr. Secillano said they must conquer fear instead.

“As priests, we try to overcome the fear. If fear actually overcomes us, ano nalang gagawin natin bilang simbahan, bilang pari?…The president of the CBCP already made a statement that we know as priests, we are at risk. But instead of being defeated by the feeling of fear, we must overcome it,” Fr. Secillano said.

Meanwhile, Fr. Sison said that the Church thrives on persecutions.

“Natatakot [kami] for our lives but let me go beyond that. Persecutions in the Church have always been there and the Church thrives in persecution. The churches that have suffered are the ones that are most fruitful. And then there’s the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz, I remember the theme being ‘to die for the faith is a call to some, to live for the faith is a call to all.’ For us, martyrdom is a gift…instead of being afraid, the priests are now coming out saying we are ready to die for the faith if needed,” Fr. Sison said.

Fr. Jerome Secillano also said that the Catholic Church were put on a defensive mode after President  Rodrigo Duterte made improper remarks against them.

Fr. Secillano said “we have to defend ourselves. These are below-the-belt accusations and many of them are not true…we have to better ourselves, to disprove each and every accusation that the president delivered.”

President Duterte mocked the Catholic Church by handing out copies of Aries Rufo’s “Altar of Secrets: Sex Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church.”

The president also called the religion a “farce” and used other unflattering words to describe it.

But despite attacks from Duterte, Fr. Secillano says they will turn the other cheek.

“Do not expect the church to be lambasting the president. Do not expect us to be in the media hurling accusations against the president. We’re not going to do that, hindi kami le-level sa ganon. The best way to respond to all these tirades, magpakita ka ng tamang gawain sa simbahan,” Fr. Secillano said.