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Bishop cries for lost humanity

MANILA (SE): Will the Filipino people progress from being a generation of drug addicts to a generation of street murderers is the question the lonely voice in the episcopal wilderness of Archbishop Socrates Villegas asked his flock at all Masses in his archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan in The Philippines on August 7.

In a pastoral letter titled, Let the humanity in us speak! read in place of the homily, Archbishop Villegas asked, “Are we providing our children with a safe haven by teaching them tolerance of murder, that killing suspected criminals without a fair hearing is a morally acceptable way of eradicating crime?”

While admitting that drugs are indeed a curse in society, he warned that breeding a generation of street murderers would be an even bigger curse, asking the people to consider whether they truly believe this do-it-yourself-justice can assure a safer and better future for the nation or not.

He queried in what direction the humanity of society has gone, asking if it can still bleed when a fellow human being is murdered, or a mother or relative grieves over a dead body on the sidewalk or in a rubbish tip, hogtied and masked with tape and crude cardboard messages.

“But the humanity in me grieves for fellow humans who do not mind killing criminals in the belief that their murders will lessen the evil in the world,” he said.

“We become less human when we kill our brethren. Every human is my brother. Every human is my sister. Everything around me is brother and sister for me,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines pointed out.

However, he stressed that you do not need to be a bishop, let alone a president of a bishops’ conference to see and understand that what is actually being killed is the humanity of the Filipino people.

“I am a human being,” he said. “That is all it takes to stand up and say ENOUGH. A portion of my humanity dies when a fellow human being dies.”

He said that all Filipinos must question how it has been established that the victims of these public executions are guilty in the first place, as the arrogance of presumption among the people is the beginning of the destruction of what gives society its fundamental life as a human community.

“Both the guilty and the innocent are human,” he stressed, “and the humanity in me grieves for fellow humans who do not mind killing in the belief that murdering will lessen the evil in the world.”

But the archbishop saved his biggest tears for the people in the pews of the churches within his diocese, many of whom have delighted in and applauded the indiscriminate flow of blood.

Archbishop Villegas lamented that he is probably talking to a people already desensitised by the blood flowing across the country, adding that he is absolutely certain that these same dehumanised people will have him killed on social media.

“At this point. I do not care. I am ready to die. I have become used to be being bashed and killed on social media. A part of me has died a hundred times in every killing I have seen these past weeks. What is another death for me?” he 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. I believe in humanity,” Archbishop Villegas concluded, saying that he believes there is a little voice of humanity that is disturbed by the murders, but it is silenced by the voice of privilege and political clout.

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