(Vatican Radio) A Catholic bishop in Philippines denounced the justification of killings of suspected criminals and said that he was witnessing a worse kind of death, the death of conscience.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, on Thursday during his homily at Mass at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros for the victims of drug-related killings and to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, lamented that conscience is no longer seen as a consideration in societal matters. “By repeating arguments of justification over and over again, they begin to sound right, they begin to resemble a Gospel truth. They become part of the culture; they become the new normal,” he said. “When I hear comments like these, I get stunned” he added.
He reiterated that the fight against criminality must be in a manner that is “lawful and humane”. According to him, addiction to drugs is a disease, “a serious illness” that must be dealt not with bullets but with rehabilitation.
Echoing the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in its recent pastoral statement, Bishop David said: “Our desperate plea is only this: For God’s sake, stop the killings; start the healing!”
He also refuted claims that people who committed crimes or those who have gone wayward can no longer be reformed and cannot be given a second chance to change their ways.
“If we were to hold that as true, that will be as good as giving up one of the most important principles of our faith as Christians that we all live only by grace and mercy of a forgiving God,” said Bishop David.
“Who are we to condemn, if our own God refuses to condemn us? Who of us do not sometimes stray from the right paths? Who of us does not commit mistakes? Who of us does not get sick—not just physically but sometimes also mentally and spiritually?” he added.
The bishop also warned against “fighting evil with evil”, insisting that people are called “to be humane, to be refined in our ways”.
“Let us never give in to provocation, to the impulse to react with anger and retaliation, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, unless we want to finish off the human race,” he said.
Duterte came to power on June 30, following an election campaign in which he promised to use deadly force to wipe out crime and drugs. Keeping to his word he has ordered to kill drug addicts and traders with a firm belief that he is reducing what ails his country but in reality it has been an act of barbarity. (CBCPNews)