Catholic Church to hold Masses 'for peace and justice' shortly before Duterte's 5th SONA

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2020 08:49 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2020 10:21 AM

A priest celebrates Mass through online streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic, when most people are encouraged to stay home to curb the possible spread of the highly-contagious virus, March 22, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Monday urged Roman Catholics to join a Mass for "peace and justice" shorty before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address next Monday.

The Manila Cathedral's July 27 online Mass and other Masses are for "enlightenment" as well as "peace and justice in the country, Pabillo said in an online press conference.

"Nakikita natin na kailangan gabayan ang tao, tingnan ang mga nangyayari in the perspective that is Christian," he said.

"Hindi magkakaroon ng peace kung walang justice. Real peace is based on justice," he said.

The Church will pray for justice for frontliners, business enterprises, indigenous groups, and workers who lost their jobs during the health and economic crisis, the bishop said.

"Sana maibigay sa atin [sa SONA] ang maliwanag na kalagayan ng ating bansa dahil hanggang ngayon tayo ay naguguluhan ano ba talaga ang plano," he said.

The Catholic Church is among the many organizations that have urged the government, "especially Congress," to reconsider its stance on the shutdown of ABS-CBN, which has prompted the network to lay off most of its 11,000 workers by end of next month amid a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and economic crisis.

Several clergymen have also denounced how the Duterte administration supposedly fast-tracked the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, as well as the push of pro-administration groups for charter change amid the global pandemic.

"A leader must not only be sincere. He must also be correct in what he is doing," Pabillo said.

"The things he is doing, he is saying, are they correct? I don't think so," he said, referring to Duterte.

Pabillo's invitation for Roman Catholics to take part in the nationwide Mass and prayer before the SONA comes a day after the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) denounced the government's "pattern of intimidation" under the Duterte government.

Among those who are expected to attend the pre-SONA Mass are opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros, former Finance Secretary Ramon del Rosario, and Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.

"Pang-limang taon na na State of the Nation Address ng Pangulo, ngunit sa halip na napapanatag tayo sa estado at kinabukasan ng ating bansa, tila mas nananaig ang takot," Hontiveros said.

"Nananaig man minsan ang takot, dapat hindi tayo maduwag... Faith, not fear," she said.