Manila (Agenzia Fides) - It is urgent to fight the "cycle of hatred" that is taking place in society: this is what the Filipino Bishops say at the conclusion of their 118th Plenary Assembly held in Manila from 26 to 28 January. In the pastoral letter issued at the end of the assembly and sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops speak of the "cycle of hatred", referring to the attack on the Cathedral of Jolo which killed at least 20 people and injured over 80 on 27 January; but they also cited the trail of extra-judicial executions that took place in the context of the "war on drugs".
The text, signed by the president of the Episcopal Conference, Archbishop of Davao, Romulo Valles, states: "The recent attack on the Cathedral of Jolo where dozens of people were killed and many others were wounded is further evidence of the cycle of hatred that it is destroying the moral fabric of our country". The Bishops' Conference invites to abandon "the culture of violence" and choose "courage, love, faith and conviction". "Faith is the source of strength of the people" and guides "like a moral and spiritual compass of people's lives", in the different situations of everyday life", they say.
"More than ever, as members of the Church, we must realize that our strength lies in keeping our faith intact", applying it, in conscience, "to the complex problems of life: in the choice of leaders, in the exercise of vocation of citizens, in the growth of families, in work and in professions".
The Bishops hope that "faith keeps these different aspects of life together, allowing the conscience to speak in a coherent way in every aspect of our life".
Speaking after the assembly, Archbishop Valles declared that, faced with an evil action like that of Jolo, "as believers we must look into our hearts and respond with good, this is the strength of our faith".
Also Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, at the conclusion of the assembly, said that the attack "wants to jeopardize the peace process in Mindanao, especially after the referendum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which in effect is an agreement of peace between the government and armed groups of Muslim communities". And he expressed the hope that "that attack will not destroy the path of peace". (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 29/1/2019)