CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 March 2018

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Intimidation and killing will not stop drug problem bishop says

Manila (UCAN): Speaking during a 25th anniversary Mass for the group, Singles for Christ, on February 18, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, of Kalookan, the Philippines, lamented that many people agree that drug “addicts are not human.”
He told the gathering of around 7,000 young people, “My heart bleeds when there are Catholics who agree that criminals cannot be reformed, that they deserve to die and be exterminated if we are to have a peaceful Philippine society.” 
The country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, who has been waging a bloody war on drugs, has repeatedly justified the large-scale killing of drug users by suggesting the victims were not human.
Bishop David, whose diocese has borne the brunt of the tragedy, said there was a need for a different approach to the anti-narcotics war, saying that intimidation and killings would not stop the drug problem.
Bishop David said the Church supports the campaign against illegal drugs, “but our question is how are you fighting this war?”
He noted that government says it is fighting a war, “…my question is war against whom?” he asked.
“Before declaring a war, are we not supposed to identify first who our enemies and allies are? That’s all we are asking,” Bishop David said,.
“It is those who victimise the sick whom this government should go after,” he said, adding that drug addicts need help, not scorn and hateful revenge from the public. He said the government should go after the manufacturers and illegal drug syndicates to stop the narcotics trade.
The bishop described the proliferation of illegal drugs as a “spiritual and a psychological disease,” adding that, “In their struggles with fear, with insecurities, with depression, and isolation many people resort to the negative way of coping and they become enslaved.” 
He said it is not easy to take a stand to stop the killings and start the healing.
“(We) now are in bad company because we are trying to save the addicts, the people you are told to avoid,” Bishop David told the young crowd. 

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