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CBCP STATEMENT ON THE MARAWI BOMBING

December 7, 2023 Bro. Clifford T. Sorita 112 views

SoritaPope Francis in a telegram addressed to Most Rev. Edwin de la Peña y Angot, MSP, DD (Bishop of the Prelature of Marawi) said that he was “deeply saddened to be informed of the injuries and loss of life caused by the bombing.” The message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, continues by remarking that “His Holiness Pope Francis asks you to convey his spiritual closeness to all affected by this tragedy. He joins you in commending the souls of those who died to Almighty God’s loving mercy and he implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved. Prayers that Christ the Prince of Peace will grant to all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good, as a pledge of strength and consolation in the Lord.”

This terror thought to be caused by a grenade or a homemade bomb, ripped through a gymnasium at Mindanao State University. At least four people were killed and dozens of others wounded last Sunday (December 3) in an explosion at a Roman Catholic Mass inside a university gymnasium in this southern Philippine city of Marawi. The university, in Lanao del Sur Province, was at the center of fighting in 2017 that displaced more than 100,000 people, after local and foreign Islamic State militants laid siege to Marawi.

Allow me to share with you the official statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio S. David, DD; President and concurrent Bishop of Kalookan on this horrendous event. Bishop David writes:

It happened in the morning of the first Sunday of Advent, 3 December 2023. A group of Catholics was gathered together for the Eucharist to mark the beginning of a new liturgical season and to light the candle for the first Sunday of Advent. The perpetrators had chosen that very occasion to detonate a bomb, instantly killing three of our Catholic faithful and wounding ten others in the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City.

Surely, the killers who precipitated such a horrendous act of violence have their loved ones too. What would it take to get them to see in the families of their victims their own families?

Such violence should not only be denounced; it should also be renounced as a way of seeking redress by every peace-loving Filipino.

We have just celebrated “Red Wednesday” last November 29, to remember our fellow Christians who, for sheer love of their faith, have suffered from violence and persecution around the world. The casualties in this morning’s bombing are now counted among them. We take comfort in the thought that they have participated in the passion of Christ, that their blood has been poured out as a libation like the blood of Christ. They professed their faith at that last Mass that they attended, especially in the “communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” Through the same Eucharist which we celebrated with them on this Day of the Lord, we have united ourselves with them by the same faith that we profess, and in the same grace of baptism through which we participate in the life-giving death of Christ.

We hope that the statement issued by the Mindanao State University can still touch the consciences of the perpetrators. It says, “Violence has no place in a civilized society, and it is particularly abhorrent in an institution of higher learning like MSU, a bulwark of peace, harmony, solidarity, reverence for life and humanity. This attack is an assault on our core values and our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive community for all.” We could not agree more. With them we reaffirm our unrelenting commitment to peace and our repudiation of violence.

We pray for the eternal repose of those who have died, and for the healing of those who have been injured. We unite ourselves spiritually with their families and draw strength and consolation from our faith in Christ who will “restore all things to himself, making peace by the blood of his cross…” (Col. 1:20).

On a personal note (outside this CBCP statement), let me just say that building the perfect tapestry of Cultural and Religious understanding may not yield the immediate response necessary to instantaneously halt terrorism. But it is the only way to end this vicious cycle. Finding a “common ground” in this globally complex and semantically confusing world will definitely take a lot of work. But is much better that all the offensive and counter-offensive mechanisms of military warfare. We are all members of the same human family, whose efforts, whether we realize it or not, tends towards the same truth we all seek to realize.

In conclusion allow me to quote PCP II’s thought on this subject matter, “We need to encourage these efforts (inter-religious dialogue) especially where suspicions easily arise due to historic animosities and biases. We in the Church must be the first to start in undoing past effects of our mutual grievances. Understanding Islam is a necessary step. But beyond an intellectual grasp of Islamic religion is the common cause we can make with Filipino Muslims even now on the fundamental issues of justice and development. For Muslims have more than their share too, of poverty and the inequalities that goes with it” (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, No. 115).

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