Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "The Catholic Church's relationship with President Duterte is not easy: issues such as extrajudicial killings, which continue in the 'campaign against drugs', and respect for the environment are a cause for concern. The Church highlights the ‘Critical collaboration' with the government.
We are conscious of wanting to work together for the good of the country: we are interested in the common good of people, but we must raise our voices when there are policies or acts that go against the Gospel. We appeal to the conscience of faith of the baptized: we often ask ourselves how it is possible that the Catholic faithful in the Philippines continue to give their support to the president": says Bishop Socrates C. Mesiona, Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Princesa, to Agenzia Fides. The Bishop is in Rome to participate in the Formation Seminar for the newly-appointed Bishops, organized by the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples.
The Bishop notes: "The country needs a figure that is a symbol and represents national unity, a figure in which everyone can recognize themselves: this is the role of the President. But today we see a polarized nation: Duterte does not seem to feed and nurture this unity".
Looking at the situation of the Church, Mgr. Mesiona recalls: "The Catholic Church in the Philippines is experiencing, in preparation for the 500th anniversary of evangelization (the anniversary will be celebrated in 2021) a 'Year of the Clergy': as Bishops, priests, religious, we are called to be credible in our evangelical witness, to renew our faith and to dedicate ourselves to evangelization". The Bishop notes: "The challenge is to work together to transform our society, taking on a missionary approach, to break barriers, open new paths, change the way we think".
Preparation to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in the Philippines is in progress throughout the country (it was 1521). To adequately prepare for this important event, the Church in the Philippines has organized a nine-year cycle (from 2013 to 2021) that will culminate with the Holy Year of the anniversary, 2021. The Church, the Bishop concludes, intends to "raise awareness for make every baptized person aware of his missionary vocation. In fact, 2021 will be the Year of the Missio Ad Gentes". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/9/2018)