MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday, August 30, urged Catholics not to make “inflammatory statements” against the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), as the bloc-voting church holds a days-long rally.
“Be charitable at all times and in all circumstances,” CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
Villegas said: “Jesus, the Lord, willed His disciples to be known by their love. No Catholic should fan the flames of dissension by rumor-mongering and by inflammatory statements. Let all be kind in disposition, respectful in speech, and prudent in action.”
The CBCP president issued this statement on the 4th day of the INC’s anti-government rally that began in Padre Faura, Manila on Thursday, August 27, and is continuing in EDSA.
The INC is protesting the alleged religious persecution perpetrated by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
This comes after an expelled INC minister, Isaias Samson Jr, filed an illegal detention case against INC leaders.
Slamming political opportunism
In his statement, Villegas also warned against political opportunism in the INC rally.
Just a day earlier, critics of President Benigno Aquino III, led by his uncle Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, joined the INC rally and brought up perennial issues against the Aquino administration.
Below is the CBCP’s full statement on the INC rally:
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.