MANILA, Philippines – Bishop Valentin Dimoc of Bontoc-Lagawe challenged Filipinos to "take courage" in the face of darkness, as thousands of Catholics made a show of force against recent killings in the Philippines.
"When we hear expletives or thousands of cuss words, let us not be intimidated and let us remain peaceful," Dimoc said at the Walk for Life on Saturday, February 18.
While not naming any personality, Dimoc made this call as President Rodrigo Duterte hurls expletives at the Catholic Church, denouncing bishops and priests as hypocrites. (READ: Choosing between Hell with Duterte and Heaven with the CBCP)
The Walk for Life, where the bishop issued his message, was a grand Catholic procession against extrajudicial killings, the proposed revival of the death penalty, and other matters labeled by the Catholic Church as anti-life. (READ: TRANSCRIPT: Cardinal Tagle's speech at Walk for Life)
Police said around 10,500 Filipinos joined the event on Saturday.
Dimoc added, "When we are bullied because of trolls in cyberspace, let us continue to use Facebook responsibly, make our presence felt, and bear witness to our faith."
He also referred to reports of crime syndicates in the Philippine National Police, and urged Filipinos not to "be pessimistic." He also appealed for support for "the good law enforcers in cleaning their ranks."
"When we hear of legislators who wanted to discipline our nation with death penalty, let us continue to voice out our opposition to the culture of death. In the midst of millions of drug users and surrenderers in our society, let us reach out to them with mercy and compassion," Dimoc added.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.