To : All CFC
Ref. No. 02 - 80
From : The CFC Council
Date: May 20, 2002
Today we are being bombarded on
TV, the newspapers and on radio about the so-called sex-scandals or infidelity of priests regarding their vow of celibacy.
The Catholic Church does not deny
that there are some such cases. However, it seems that the situation is being sensationalized by media, as seen in the almost
daily feature of various cases of priestly offenses. Last, Saturday, a major
daily even had as its headline that certain priestly offenses deserve imprisonment.
It seems that some elements in media are intent on crucifying the Catholic Church because of its erring priests.
Such attacks on the Church are
an attack on the whole body, of which CFC is a part. Such attacks drag down good
and holy priests, and those struggling hard to be good priests. Such attacks
promote a negative picture of the Church in the eyes of her own children in particular and our country men in general.
What are the realities about this
C It is said that 5% among the clergy
are very good, holy and exemplary priests. On the other hand, 1.6% or even less are errant priests. The greater majority that comprises more than 90% are struggling hard to be good, praying hard to God and
serving quietly their people. These are the priests who are oftentimes at the
background, doing their best to remain faithful to the commitments they swore to live out.
C As to the erring priests, the Church
is both a mother and teacher. We are always in the pursuit of truth. We will investigate if needed. We seek justice at all times. Penalties will be duly served. Rehabilitation
programs and assistance will be extended to both victims and offenders. Truth and justice must prevail. But with truth and
justice comes love. Love is the greatest of all commandments. The Church is a healer more than a judge. The salvation of
all the faithful is our primary duty. We will do what is good and salvific for
the victims and the errant priests. After all, they both need healing and forgiveness. They are all children of God!
(By Bishop Socrates
B. Villegas, D.D. on the Statement of the Archdiocese of Manila entitled Stained But
Beautiful, May 8, 2002.)
The position of
CFC is as follows:
1. As Catholics, we strongly
adhere to the faith that was given to us by virtue of our baptism, through the Catholic Church.
2. By faith, we believe in the
teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and reject any claim of irrelevance in the light of the recent scandals
3. We know that there are holy
and exemplary priests, and we believe that the majority of priests are trying their best to live out their vow of celibacy
by prayer and good works; we however are also painfully cognizant of priests who have not been faithful to their calling.
4. With regard the issue of
sexual misconduct of some priests, we condemn such misconduct and deeply sympathize with the victims, but we do not stand
in condemnation of the sinners.
5. We trust in the corrective
and rehabilitative measures that the Church hierarchy will undertake regarding the erring priests, and her actions in the
spirit of truth and justice on behalf of the victims.
Let us call on
all, in the spirit of truth and justice, to cease and desist in sensationalizing this issue further.
It is a time to
rebuild our nation and not sow disunity by smear campaigns against anyone, any party or any organization. This is the time to unite and use all our talents and resources for the common good of our people and our
nation. This is the time to build for our less fortunate countrymen. This is the time to heal our broken land and be bearers of good news and hope to our people. This is the time to gather and not to scatter.
If my people
would humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins
and heal their land. (2 Ch 7:14)
1) Let us join the lay faithful
on Sunday, May 26, 2002, in wearing blue and white as a sign of support for good priests.
2) Let us organize prayer circles
and do spiritual warfare by means of prayer and fasting.
3) When given the opportunity,
let us stand up and speak for our good priests whether we know them personally or not.
Our Mother Church
is under attack! Let us fight the good fight of faith!
For Jesus, the
For the Council