By Leslie Ann Aquino
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has asked priests in his archdiocese not to be distracted from addressing other pressing issues in the country.
His Eminence said this amid the controversy brought about by the statement of President Duterte against God.
“Let us not be distracted from addressing other pressing concerns with the fervor of faith and love,” Tagle said in his letter
Among the issues cited by the cardinal are the increasing prices of goods, job security, exploitation of women and children, violence in homes and neighborhoods, different types of addictions, crimes, vulnerabilities of OFWs the daily paralyzing traffic in big cities, flooding, reconstruction of destroyed cities, combatting terrorism, corruption and others.
“We need to come together and contribute to positive responses according to each one’s capability. We cannot address these problems by just blaming someone,” said Tagle.
“Those who believe in God must work faithfully and joyfully for the Lord. Those who do not believe in God must serve out of human decency, generosity and concern for neighbors,” he added.
The cardinal also asked his priests to always read the situation with the “eyes of faith.”
Tagle said Catholics should respect non-Catholics and their religions even those who do not believe in God.
“All people should strive to respect those who differ from their beliefs. Religions are not to be used for conflicts but for mutual understanding and peace,” he said.
Cardinal Tagle is currently in Geneva attending the UN Conference on Migrants and Refugees sponsored by the Holy See, Caritas Internationalis, the World Council of Churches, International Detention Coalition and other groups.
Meanwhile, Jesus is Lord (JIL) Founder and Philippines for Jesus Movement (PJM) chairman Bro. Eddie Villanueva said President Duterte’s remarks against God are inviting curses not only to himself but to the country as well.
“To insult God, to us, is a kind of blasphemy in the highest order. The Bible is very clear, when you slander God, you are inviting curses not only to yourself but the entire nation, like calamities and disasters,” he told ANC.
In the said interview, Villanueva revealed that their group sent a letter to the President asking him to apologize publicly to God.
“We are representing 10 million people. I don’t believe the President will ignore this because once he ignores the collective wisdom of the body of Christ, this may lead to a kind of huge prayer rally designed, first, to intercede and for spiritual warfare. And worst I hope it will not lead to the imprecatory prayers,” he said.
JIL was founded in 1978 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines where Villanueva, then an economics professor started a bible study group. The church has since grown into one of the biggest evangelical churches in the world with congregations in over 60 nations.