By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stressed that the spate of attacks that resulted in the death of three priests is not reason enough for other priests to arm themselves.
“I am very much aware of the day-to-day dangers to our lives these days, especially with the killing of three priests in recent months. Together with other reported killings, we are most disturbed and deeply saddened by the death of these priests. We have strongly condemned these killings,” CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said in a statement.
“But still to me, it does not warrant at all that priests carry firearms,” he added.
The CBCP head said they trust the police authorities will fulfill their duty to protect everyone, including priests.
“We pray for them and challenge them to do their very best in this very difficult and demanding task of protecting all of us, including priests,” said Valles.
Three priests have been killed in the last six months.
The most recent victim was Fr. Richmond Nilo of the Diocese of Cabanatuan.
Valles then reiterated his opposition against the idea of priests carrying firearms even for self-defense.
“In the midst of the Church, in the midst of society, because of the grace of priestly ordination, we are supposed to see and feel in his presence the person of Christ,” he said.
“And, therefore, with this configuration of a priest to Christ, it is simply not appropriate, to say the least, for a priest to carry firearms to protect himself,” added Valles.