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Attack on Priests
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This is a letter proclaiming CFC's stand on the Priesthood during a time it is visibly attacked from all sectors.

Memorandum

To        :     All CFC members                                                                          Ref. No. 02 - 80

From    :     The CFC Council                                                                           Date: May 20, 2002

 

Re: Attack on Priests

 

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 burning issue?

 


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 involving priest.

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)

 

Action Points:

 

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 true Priest,

 

Signed

 

Lachie Agana

For the Council