Pope’s envoy at IEC 2016 hits death penalty, abortion

Paterno Esmaquel II
Pope’s envoy at IEC 2016 hits death penalty, abortion


Cardinal Bo of Myanmar rejects the 'culture of death' as he opens the 51st International Eucharistic Congress

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the representative of Pope Francis in an international conference here, slammed abortion and death penalty as he opened the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).

Bo, the papal legate for this event, echoed the late pope John Paul II in rejecting the “culture of death.” 

Catholics consider the “culture of death” as opposed to the values of the Eucharist, better known as the Mass. 

Through the Eucharist, Catholics celebrate Jesus’ death on the cross 2,000 years ago, which they believe gives life to sinners.

“The work of liberation and redemption is not yet over,” Bo said.

Bo, the archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, also challenged Catholics to live their faith. 

“The Mass of a devotee ends in an hour. The Mass of a disciple is unending,” he said in Cebu, a city known for its residents’ devotion to the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus. 

Earlier in the Mass, addressing Bo, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma also noted an “observable dichotomy between worship and life.”

‘Bridging the dichotomy’

“Christ is not always manifested as our hope in glory,” Palma said.

He said he hopes the IEC will forge “paths toward bridging the dichotomy” he mentioned. 

One of the biggest events in the Catholic Church, the IEC is more than a theological conference.  

This is because for Catholics, the topic of the IEC – the Eucharist or the Mass – has a “social dimension.” This means it has to affect the way Catholics live their lives.

“There are many social ills in relation to the Eucharist,” said Fr Francis Lucas, president of the Catholic Media Network, in an interview with Rappler on Sunday.

Because of this, he said he expects the IEC to also tackle modern issues such as terrorism and climate change.

IEC speakers include Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, former Dominican head and now Vatican consultor Fr Timothy Radcliffe, and Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, said to be “the most followed Catholic leader on social media” next to the Pope. – Rappler.com

Follow Rappler’s special coverage of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress. Read other stories by clicking this link.

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.