By Leslie Ann Aquino
Eight hundred priests and bishops of Northern Luzon started their four-day retreat in Baguio City, Monday.
In a text message, Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said during the joint spiritual retreat, the clergy will offer “prayers and penance” for the sins of “murder, blasphemy, and sacrilege.”
He said the clergy will also offer Mass daily at 5:30 p.m.
Last week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in their Pastoral Exhortation “Rejoice and Be Glad” urged everyone to observe a day of prayer and penance on July 16, the Feast of Blessed Mother of Mt. Carmel.
“Let us spend a day of prayer and penance, invoking God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country,” read the exhortation.
Without naming President Duterte, who attacked several teachings of the Catholic faith and even called God as “stupid,” the bishops also admonished those “who arrogantly regard themselves as wise” in their pastoral exhortation.
“…St. Paul’s words are to the point: ‘For the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength’,” the letter read.
The bishops’ also invited the faithful to join them in three days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving from July 17 to 19, 2018.
The pastoral exhortation was released at the end of the CBCP’s three-day Plenary Assembly in Manila, July 9.
The spiritual retreat, which will be held until July 20, is currently being held at the Baguio Cathedral.