Church silence on killings ‘media-perceived,’ cardinal says

Paterno Esmaquel II
Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo adds that 'we should think of the Church as not the bishops only'

NOT SILENT. Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo denies that the Catholic Church has been silent on recent killings in the Philippines. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo denied on Tuesday, January 17, that the Catholic Church has been silent in opposing the recent drug-related killings in the Philippines.

“The silence is media-perceived,” Quevedo said in a news conference on the second day of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM).

Quevedo explained that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in mid-2016, already issued a statement about illegal drugs and extrajudicial killings.

He said the CBCP also told individual bishops “that they can issue their own pastoral statements in their own dioceses.” He pointed out that “many bishops have followed that.”

The bishops have also encouraged laypeople to collaborate with the Catholic hierarchy in relation to the CBCP statement on drugs and extrajudicial killings.

This comes as more than 6,200 people have died in the war on drugs waged by the Philippine government. 

Quevedo added that “we should think of the Church as not the bishops only.”

The cardinal said: “Let the people do the action. We give the moral guidance. There has been a deliberate choice on that issue. Let the bishops give moral guidance, and let the people act. That’s the Church.” 

Also during WACOM, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo urged Catholics to speak out on the recent drug-related killings in the Philippines.

In a speech, Pabillo said, “Can we now keep our mouths shut when more than 6,000 of our poor people are being killed on the mere pretext of drug trafficking?”

Hosted by the Philippines from January 16 to 20, WACOM is an international gathering of devotees of the Divine Mercy, held every 3 years. – Rappler.com

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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.