CBCP head at IEC: Forgive us, your lost shepherds
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, apologized to Catholics on behalf of priests during a huge week-long conference here.
Villegas also urged all Catholics to reexamine their lives, but quickly pointed out: “God is not just merciful. God is very merciful.”
“It is easier for God to control his anger than to withhold his mercy. The revenge of Jesus when we sin is mercy,” he said at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City.
Villegas made these statements on Thursday, January 28, during a penitential service, when IEC delegates asked forgiveness for their sins by praying to God and confessing their sins to a priest.
“Brothers and sisters, our parishioners, forgive us, your lost shepherds, and beg God to show us his mercy,” Villegas said.
The CBCP president told the IEC delegates: “Before you come to us, your pastors and priests and bishops, to confess your sins and seek pardon, brothers and sisters, Catholic laity, please give us your pardon and forgiveness, too, for our sins against you.”
He then made a litany of sins commonly committed by bishops and priests.
He began with a sin that he already mentioned in the past: “homily abuse,” or the practice of delivering “long, winding, repetitious, irrelevant, unprepared” homilies during the Mass, also known as the Eucharist. (READ: Bishop to priests: ‘Stop the homily abuse’)
“Forgive us for our long homilies and rushed liturgies,” Villegas said at the IEC.
'All sin is pride'
He continued, “Forgive us for allowing the glitter of gold to dim the glow of the sacred host.”
“Forgive us for getting stuck in dusty, dogmatic formulas, and snuffing out the spirit of renewal.”
“Forgive us for using un-Christlike means to spread the Gospel of love and mercy.”
“Forgive us for our stingy encouragement and hasty prejudices.”
“Forgive us for allowing the Church to age and playing deaf to the joy of the youth and the children.”
“Forgive us for the delivering hindrances instead of being helpful,” Villegas said.
In this penitential service, Villegas also identified “pride” as the root of all sins.
“All sin is pride,” he said, as he connected pride with common sins against the Ten Commandments.
Villegas explained: “Idolatry is taking pride in our man-made gods of money and fame. The dishonor for parents is pride that makes us forget our roots. Ingratitude to elders is the root of disrespect. Pride, blocking the memory of the heart.”
“Murder is pride, dictating that I, not God, have rights over the lives of my neighbor. Murder says, ‘I am not my brother’s keeper; I am his boss. I can do with him what pleases me.’”
The CBCP president added: “Stealing is pride, claiming that I have rights over things I like regardless of my neighbor’s needs. Adultery is pride. Adultery reduces my friends to an object. ‘Sex is my right, not a responsibility. I do what I enjoy.’ The liar is the brother of the proud. Both proud and liar live in a bubble world of illusions.”
Earlier in the IEC, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle also urged all sectors of society – including bishops, parents, teachers, and politicians – to reject the so-called “throwaway culture” plaguing the world.
The IEC, which ends on Sunday, January 31, aims to discuss the most important form of Catholic worship – the Mass – in connection with other problems facing society. – Rappler.com