DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 June) – A leader of the Catholic church on Thursday urged the faithful to keep a peaceful and loving spirit amid the attacks hurled against the church that have caused “anxiety, worry, sadness, and confusion.”
“This we should ask God in our prayers these days. If we have this in our hearts, we can attain love and respect for others,” Davao City Archbishop Romulo Valles said in a statement in Cebuano dated June 28.
Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, did not name names but his statement came days after President Rodrigo Duterte attacked the church and called God “stupid.”
The prelate encouraged Catholics to look back and continue living their faith in God passed on from their elders and to which they have held on for several years.
“Let’s look back and examine the living proof of our faith in God at the church, and our faith in Jesus Christ our Savior,” he added.
Valles, known to be close to the Duterte family, delivered the then presidential candidate’s letter of apology to Pope Francis for badmouthing the Holy See in one of his speeches in 2016 for his experience during a traffic gridlock in Manila during the Pontiff’s visit.
Valles told his flock: “Do not forget that you yourselves experienced how beautiful, how valuable, and how powerful our faith is.”
“Do not forget the many instances that through your belief you were touched by the mystery in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in receiving the body and blood of Christ through Holy Communion,” he said.
He told the flock to love and protect their faith, as this unites the church and pushes them to respect other people.
He cited a Bible verse, Romans 8:38: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
“Do not forget your undeniable experience of God’s presence while you are kneeling in front of the Most Holy Sacrament at the tabernacle of the Church,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)