POSTSCRIPT / August 6, 2019 / Tuesday


Opinion Columnist

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Bishops on sedition charges: Let’s pray!

IN SOLIDARITY, we feel the helplessness of persons who have been falsely accused and, afraid that they may not have a fair chance to prove their innocence, seek solace and justice through prayer.

We understand and support the call of the Church for the faithful to stand together and storm heaven with prayer for several individuals, including bishops and priests, accused of sedition and/or inciting to overthrow the government.

The call was made earlier by Manila archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who asked last Sunday that a “Prayer for the Nation” that he composed for the special intention be recited in Sunday Masses this month.

Also starting today, prayers begun in the archdiocese will be amplified nationwide on instructions of Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, who vouched for the innocence of the clergymen accused of sedition and related crimes.

The charges arose from the Ang Totoong Narcolist videos linking President Duterte and some family members to the drug trade. The man claiming to be “Bikoy” in the videos – Peter Joemel Advincula – first backed the allegations, but recanted and said the accused were behind the videos.

Accused together with opposition figures, including Vice President Leni Robredo, are archbishop Socrates Villegas, bishops Pablo Virgilio David, Honesto Ongtioco and Teodoro Bacani, and three priests.

State prosecutors begin on Friday the preliminary investigation of the complaints filed by the police. Valles invited the faithful to pray also for those involved in the inquiry “so that fairness, justice and truth will guide them.”

The CBCP head asked in a letter to all dioceses that Masses on Aug. 6 (today), the Feast of the Transfiguration, and on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, be offered for the intention. “Let us be in solidarity with them in prayer. Let us invite our priests, our religious, our people to join us,” he wrote.

 Recite with us the ‘Prayer for the Nation’

THE READER is enjoined to recite, preferably with others, this “Prayer for the Nation” composed by Cardinal Tagle:

Almighty and merciful God, you have brought us together in the name of your Son Jesus.

We beg for your mercy and grace in our time of need.

Open our eyes to see the evil that we have done.

Forgive us for failing to do what is good and just.

Touch our hearts and bring us back to you.

We pray for an end to the violence perpetrated by harsh words, malicious propaganda, deadly weapons, or cold indifference.

May our homes, our nation, and our world become havens of your peace.

Grant us the grace to see every human being as a child of God, regardless of race, language, or culture, even drug addicts, criminals, and hardened sinners.

Give us the strength to teach our children and youth how to resolve differences non-violently and respectfully. May elders become models of decent and honorable behavior.

We entrust to your mercy those who hate the Church and spread prejudice against our Catholic faith. Illumine their minds with the light of your truth. Touch their hearts with your love.

Inspire those in public office to uphold, preserve, promote, and defend the dignity of every human being and acknowledge you, our God, as the Source and Lord of all life.

Touch the hearts of those who oppress others and those who take the law in their own hands.

Touch the consciences of the perpetrators of heinous crimes, violence, senseless, and indiscriminate killings. Move them to abandon their pride and their instruments of destruction.

We also remember the police and first responders who risk their lives daily to ensure our safety. May they also be instruments of fair and just law enforcement that guarantees the dignity of persons and promotes truth, peace, and well-being in society.

We lift up to you our bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful who suffer from misunderstanding, false accusations, and persecution on account of their faith and their promotion of justice. Grant them holy joy that will see them through the dark nights of suffering.

Welcome to your eternal feast in heaven the people who died in senseless brutal organized killings, including priests who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth and justice.

With St. Paul, we say:

“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;

perplexed, but not driven to despair;

persecuted, but not abandoned;

struck down, but not destroyed;

always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,

so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

Since you, O God, are with us, nothing that has happened, nothing still to come, can rob us of our hope in Christ.

In your enduring love we trust.

You alone can heal our broken hearts.

You alone can wipe away the tears that well up inside us.

You alone can give us peace.

You alone can strengthen us to persevere.

Assure those who are discouraged that with you nothing is impossible.

Filled and invigorated by the Holy Spirit, may our love for one another be deepened.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mary, Mother of Hope, pray for us.

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

St. John Marie Vianney, pray for us.

San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.

San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.

Blessed José María de Manila, pray for us.

Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, pray for us.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 6, 2019)

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