Cardinal Tagle releases prayer vs death penalty

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle through his chancellor, Father Reginald Malicdem, released a prayer against the death penalty, which is meant to be said in Masses throughout the Christmas season.

"Help us to work tirelessly against state-sanctioned death," said the prayer forwarded by Malicdem "in the name of His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle and of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila." 

One of the prayer intentions is "for our wounded society misled by the illusion that one must take life in order to defend it."

"There is in our land a cry for vengeance and a move to fill up death rows and kill offenders, but disguised as a call for justice. Let true and lasting justice spring forth," the prayer states.

In a letter to church and school leaders in the Archdiocese of Manila, dated December 7, Malicdem said: "This prayer can be said either before the Mass or after the post-communion prayer, or you may opt to incorporate it in the Prayers of the Faithful of all Masses beginning tomorrow, December 8, 2016, and all through the Christmas season."

Earlier, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas called for a prayer rally in his archdiocese also against the death penalty. 

The House of Representatives had earlier aimed to pass a death penalty bill on 3rd and final reading before Christmas, but deferred this to early next year.

President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reinstate the death penalty as he wages a war on drugs that has killed at least 5,869 people since July 1. (READ: UN on death penalty: PH will break int'l law)

Full text: 'Prayer against the Death Penalty'

Below is the full text of the Archdiocese of Manila's Prayer against the Death Penalty:

Leader: Father, source and giver of life, we lift our hearts and voices to you. Help us to build a society that truly chooses life in all situations.

Let our response be:  Lord, heal our pain.

For those experiencing pain and anguish because of violence and crime,
Lord, heal our pain.

For perpetrators and victims of atrocities who both struggle with anger and hatred,
Lord, heal our pain.

For our broken world, enchained by the desire for revenge, 
Lord, heal our pain.

For our wounded society misled by the illusion that one must take life in order to defend it.
Lord, heal our pain.

Leader: Let us say together:  Help us to make peace.

For our country, tempted to accept violent revenge.
Help us to make peace.

For the conviction to recognize and uphold the dignity of all people.
Help us to make peace.

For the wisdom to see poverty, injustice and lack of educational and employment opportunities as likely causes of criminality,
Help us to make peace.

For guidance and compassion in addressing the pain of both victims and perpetrators of wrong-doing, 
Help us to make peace.

For the fortitude to find solutions that protect the dignity of all people and bring about true reconciliation,
Help us to make peace.

For the inspiration to renew society on the basis of love and restorative justice,
Help us to make peace.

Leader: Let us pray

Father of compassion,
You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
Give us a heart like yours
so that we may love as You love,
even those who have caused us pain. 

There is in our land a cry for vengeance and 
a move to fill up death rows and kill offenders
but disguised as a call for justice.
Let true and lasting justice spring forth. 

Jesus, our brother,
you suffered execution in the hands of the powerful 
but you did not let hatred overcome you.
Help us to reach out to victims of violence
so that our enduring love may help heal their wounds. 

Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life
You strengthen us in the struggle for justice.
Help us to work tirelessly against state-sanctioned death
and to renew society in truth, justice, love and respect
so that violence will cease and peace may prevail.

Amen.

O Mary, Mother of Life, protect the Filipino people from the forces of death.
San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.

– Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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 pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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