Press Release
June 16, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 326:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the Silence of the Catholic Church


For a predominantly Catholic country, there seems to be a growing sentiment among the people I have spoken to that the Roman Catholic Church is slowly allowing itself to fall into irrelevancy. Other denominations, when they deem their ranks and their beliefs are under attack, the leadership makes their voices heard, and defends their Church, their own, their followers and, most importantly, their faith.

But these days, it seems that the Church, as an organization, has fallen silent. Where are the words of wisdom from the highest ranking official of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines? Words that defend against blasphemous words that take the name of God for granted? Words that defend those who defend the faith and its people? Words that are not just meant to guide the Filipino people towards a stronger faith, and away from morally ruinous mentalities and actions, but to condemn recent events that seem to make religious leaders fair game for killing sprees?

The Church could not have chosen the worst time to become silent and passive.

Our people are dying.

Priests who defend the people are dying.

The President, instead of promising to bring justice to those who are slaughtering his people, is vilifying the victims. Conditioning the people - and it seems successfully conditioning the Church itself - into accepting atrocities passively and without a counter-message: of peace, love, truth, justice, rule of law and respect for God and his Church.

Where are the shepherds of God's flock?

His flock are here, doing their best to find their own direction. And there are individual priests who have taken it upon themselves to be the voices for the unheard; the voices that tell the people, the Government and the Catholic Church itself what they may not like to hear, but have to hear; that we are straying farther and farther away from God's light and God's love, and becoming more and more submissive towards a fork-tongued blasphemer, God-mocker, truth-bender and mass murderer. But where is the Church and its leaders when we need them to be heard the most? Where is the temporally and spiritually powerful entity - the Roman Catholic Church - that has, up to now, been instrumental in building this Filipino nation, and in helping Filipinos become a united, God-loving and socially responsible people?

When God teaches his people to answer offense with acts of kindness, He nevertheless likewise teaches them "to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16).

Save for a few bishops, priests, and nuns, where are the Church leaders who ought to be the first to stand and give an answer?

Why are they silent in the face of those who speak maliciously of God, and the call for good behavior?

I need not ask where God is. He is everywhere. But there are many who are starting to ask, where are those who solemnly pledged to bring God's light to the people, especially those who need them most? Why is the Church so silent that it seems they have turned their backs, not just to their mission, their people, but also to their own - the priests who have died protecting and guiding their flock.

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