Catholic World News

Leading Philippine prelate: we will ‘stand up for the moral right’ and ‘resist the moral wrong’

July 14, 2016

Before the debate over the Reproductive Health Act in 2012, Philippine bishops were “heard and respected,” but now the Church is a “Church in the wilderness,” the president of the bishops’ conference said on July 9.

“It felt like we were voices in the wilderness proclaiming a teaching that our people could not identify with,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in an address to his brother bishops. “Our pastoral letters were unheeded, mocked and ignored … When we challenged indecency, we were despised and ridiculed as archaic.”

“When we preached about marriage and family life, we were dismissed as uninformed bachelors,” he continued. “We are called shameless hypocrite children of whores.”

Though “the temptation to bow down to the tempter is great,” and “the temptation to complain, reminiscing [about] the melons of Egypt is hard to resist,” the bishops’ task, said Archbishop Villegas, is clear:

We will stand up for the moral right. We will resist the moral wrong. We will stand and defend every person’s life and dignity. We will shield the weak from harm. We will protect the confused from error.

We will guide and enlighten the lost. We will teach, even it seems like a voice in a hostile wilderness, till the day we die, that right is right and wrong and wrong and we will not withdraw from mission of the Lord. Our call is not to be successful but to be faithful.

The Church may be a voice gone hoarse proclaiming Christ in the wilderness with only a handful listening; but in the wilderness, the best in us shines forth.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 14, 2016 9:20 PM ET USA

    "Our call is not to be successful but to be faithful." You can't get any more counter-cultural than that. Now THIS is a Catholic prelate! Kind of makes you proud to call yourself Catholic. And what a counter-cultural feeling that is.

  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - Jul. 14, 2016 10:38 AM ET USA

    This is the voice of the shepherd that I had been longing to hear. Courage!