Amid a rash of violence in the Philippines, the country’s Catholic bishops issued a statement on Thursday crying for mercy toward every human life.
The bishops reminded Catholics that abortion, terrorism, murder and other attacks on human life are all acts of violence. They described them as sins that “cry to heaven for divine justice,” according to the Malaysia Herald.
The island nation has faced massive violence in the past few months, with approximately 3,500 people being killed in 10 weeks, the report states. Many of the deaths are believed to be related to drug trafficking. Police violence and terrorism also have become huge problems in the Philippines. On Sept. 2, 14 people were killed and 60 more were injured in a bomb attack in Davao, according to the report.
In their statement, the Catholic bishops stressed a message of peace and trust in God: “If peace begins in the heart, so does violence and sin. We are all responsible for the quagmire we are in. If we turn to the Lord, he will heal our land. May our grief be turned to repentance and our repentant sorrow be turned into joy. May darkness of confusion be overcome by His light and may our cold indifference be cured by a new fire of Pentecost. May our repentance turn our paths from death into life!”
They also cited a well-known quote from Mother Teresa, now a saint, in calling for an end to the violence: “If we can accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
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Here’s more from the report:
Msgr. Socrates Villegas, president of the Episcopal Conference, said that “human dignity must always be protected, and the nobility of every human person continues to shine despite the scars of the crime and sin.” In late August, the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan had launched an appeal for the end of the chain of extra-judicial killings of traffickers wanted by the new president Rodrigo Duterte. The bishops have asked the families of the victims not to seek revenge and not to confuse it with the justice system.
“Drug addicts”, says Archbishop Villegas, “are sick brethren in need of healing … deserving of new life not death. They are patients begging for recovery […].They may have behaved as scum and rubbish, but the saving of love of Jesus Christ is first and foremost for them. No man or woman is ever so unworthy of God’s love. “
The Philippines, a strongly Catholic nation, protects unborn babies’ right to life, but its leaders are facing growing international pressure to legalize abortion.
In 2015, pro-abortion groups and a United Nations committee accused the Asian country of failing to “prioritize women’s human rights over religious ideology and cultural stereotypes” by not legalizing abortion, CFAM reported at LifeNews. They also criticized the Philippines for not dedicating public funds to a “full range of methods for limiting the spacing of pregnancy.”