Archbishop Villegas urges priests to ‘stand up’ for truth amid threats

Joanna Tacason, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2019 04:46 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2019 10:21 PM

PANGASINAN—Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Thursday urged fellow priests to overcome the fear of death, and stand up for truth amid "wearisome" threats and tirades aimed at clergymen.

Villegas led the Chrism mass and renewal of vows of priesthood at the St. John's Cathedral in Dagupan City here. 

"There is nothing surprising with priests being threatened with death. We should not have accepted ordination if we were afraid to die or be killed for the Lord. It is destiny. It is fate. Guhit ng palad ng kaparian," he said in a homily.

"We must reject the father of lies and prince of darkness by the courage to stand up for the truth, the bravery to shield it from deception and fake news. Bring the fight not just in the pulpit but on social media and in the plaza. Flood social media with the power of love. Make good manners fragrant and attractive. Make them see the mercy of God on Facebook."

President Rodrigo Duterte in December also drew flak for ordering the killing of bishops.

Villegas said to "not fear suffering rebukes, being calumniated, forgotten, ridiculed, wronged or suspected." 

"We must be priests for all seasons, priests for sunny middays and dark midnights," he added.

The archbishop also reminded devotees to make this year's Holy Week more meaningful by practicing forgiveness and compassion.