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Reflections

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Is Archbishop Soc Villegas "The Archbishop Oscar Romero of The Philippines"?

"Before an order to kill that a man may give, the Law of God
must prevail that says "Thou shalt not Kill!
No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the Law
of God!"
Archbishop Oscar Romero
“For the killer and the killed I grieve. We become less human when we kill our brethren.”
Archbishop Soc Villegas
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) was a prelate of the Catholic Church in El Salvador, who served as the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. In 1980, Romero was assassinated while offering Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence.
Pope Francis stated during Romero's beatification that "His ministry was distinguished by a particular attention to the most poor and marginalized." Hailed as a hero by supporters of liberation theology inspired by his work, Romero, according to his biographer, "was not interested in liberation theology", but faithfully adhered to Catholic teachings on liberation, desiring a social revolution based on supernatural interior reform.His spiritual life drew much from the spirituality of Opus Dei.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 March as the "International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims" in recognition of the role of Archbishop Romero in defence of human rights. Romero actively denounced violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable people and defended the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence.
In 1997, Pope John Paul II bestowed upon Romero the title of Servant of God, and a cause for beatification and canonization was opened for him. The cause stalled, but was reopened by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. He was declared a martyr by Pope Francis on 3 February 2015, paving the way for his beatification, which took place on 23 May 2015.
As the canonization process continues, Latin American church groups imbued in pastoral care proclaim Romero an unofficial patron saint of the Americas and/or El Salvador; Catholics in El Salvador often refer to him as "San Romero". Even outside of Catholicism, Romero is honored by other Christian denominations, including Church of England and Anglican Communion through the Calendar in Common Worship, as well as in at least one Lutheran liturgical calendar. 
Archbishop Romero is also one of the ten 20th-century martyrs depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London.The list of ten martyrs is given below:
St. Maximilian Kolbe, Manche Masemola, Janani Luwum
St Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia,Martin Luther King, Jr.
Óscar Romero,Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Esther John Lucian and Tapiedi Wang Zhiming. From Wikipedia
"If I obey the 10 Commandments or listen to priests, I would not be able to do anything as a mayor." Duterte
“Lay aside the bishop’s robes and the CBCP position. I am only a human being. My humanity is in grief. I am in utter disbelief. If this is just a nightmare wake me up and assure me it is not true. This is too much to swallow.” 
Archbishop Villegas

Enough.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has appealed to the Filipinos’ sense of humanity amid a spate of drug killings across the country.
“There is a little voice of humanity in us that I believe is disturbed by the killings; but that voice of disturbed humanity is drowned out by the louder voice of revenge or silenced by the sweet privileges of political clout,” Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said in a statement posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan late on Friday.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Villegas said he issued the statement in his capacity as Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop and not as CBCP president. He said he wanted to “address the people of God during these trying times.”
The message marks the first time  a high-ranking Catholic Church official has spoken about the unabated killing of drug suspects in President Duterte’s war on drugs.
Villegas lamented the killings, which have numbered more than 600 in the five weeks that Mr. Duterte has been in office.
Mourning the deaths, Villegas said every human being was a brother or sister to him.
“For the killer and the killed I grieve. We become less human when we kill our brethren,” he said.
‘I’m only human’
He said he was overcome with grief at the thought that people “do not mind killing criminals in the belief that their murders will lessen evil in the world.”
“I am a human being. That is all it takes for me to stand up and say, ‘Enough.’ The humanity in me is hurting each time a fellow human is hurt. Part of my humanity dies when a fellow human dies.” 
Archbishop Villegas
Villegas stressed that he does not have to be a bishop or a Catholic to be disturbed by almost daily news about the killings.
“Lay aside the bishop’s robes and the CBCP position. I am only a human being. My humanity is in grief. I am in utter disbelief. If this is just a nightmare, wake me up and assure me it is not true. This is too much to swallow,” he said.
Noting that only a few Filipinos seem to be disturbed by the killings, Villegas asked whether the Philippines is becoming a “killing fields nation” as it seeks to stamp out illegal drugs.
He said he shared the dream of a Philippines without the drug menace, but questioned whether killing crime suspects  without due process was “a morally acceptable way to eradicate crime.”
“From a generation of drug addicts, shall we become a generation of street murderers? [Can] the do-it-yourself justice system assure us of a safer and better future?” he asked.
Villegas warned that the Philippines may become a safer place, but children might learn to tolerate murder.
“Is not humanity going down to the dregs when bloodthirsty humans encourage the killers and ask for more blood? When tears are replaced by wide smiles each time a human is killed, I shake my head and ask,  ‘What has happened to humanity?” Can we still cry with those who cry?’” Villegas said.
Blood everywhere
Villegas said he hoped humanity would be restored and regained, so “that the killers may listen to the voice of conscience that has been dulled by the sight of too much blood everywhere.”
He said he was ready to be “killed again and again on social media” for his beliefs.
Lamenting that a part of him dies a hundred times with every killing, Villegas said: “In this valley of death, I grieve. In the life after, I will rejoice. Barbarism will not have the last laugh. Reason will prevail. Humanity will win in the end.”From Inquirer
From America Magazine
Deploring a campaign of extrajudicial killings that by some local media accounts has now claimed more than 800 lives, the president of the Philippines bishops’ conference issued a direct challenge to President Rodrigo Duterte and his supporters in his Sunday homily on Aug. 7. “Will you kill me again and again on the social media for saying this?” asked Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan.
“At this point. I do not care. I am ready to die.… A part of me has died a hundred times in every killing I have seen these past weeks. What is another death for me?… Barbarism will not have the last laugh. Reason will prevail. Humanity will win in the end.”
Describing himself in “utter disbelief” before the continuing police and vigilante violence against people suspected of drug peddling and other crimes, as well as the president’s professed indifference to human rights concerns, the archbishop wrote: “Both the guilty and the innocent are humans. The humanity in me bleeds each time a fellow human is killed. The humanity in me cries each time I see a parent and a child grieve over loved ones killed on the sidewalk or thrown in grassy areas hogtied or masked with tape. The humanity in me grieves for fellow humans who do not mind killing criminals in the belief that their murders will lessen evil in the world. For the killer and the killed I grieve. We become less human when we kill our brethren. Every human is my brother. Every human is my sister. Everything and everyone around me is brother and sister for me.”