Arming of priests not a solution — CBCP

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Arming priests will not prevent crimes committed against them, CBCP executive secretary Jerome Secillano said yesterday.

He said there was no need for priests to arm themselves because like other Filipinos, they are entitled to protection by the government.

“If [priests] have antagonized other people, killing them is unnecessarily excessive and brutal,” said Secillano, adding that priests should never be considered as enemies.
The CBCP head also said he is strongly against the idea of arming priests for personal safety in the wake of recent attacks on clergymen.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President, said priests are supposed to be men of peace, not violence.

“I would strongly oppose arming priests,” Valles told Manila archdiocese-run Radio Veritas.
“We are men of God, men of the Church and it is part of our ministry to face dangers, to face deaths if one may say it that way. But we would do just what Jesus did,” he said.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio, who is also the apostolic administrator of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, said he could think of several scenarios where the proposal could have negative consequences.

“It will create more chaos, it will not solve anything,” he said.

Fr. Richmond Nilo has been shot dead inside a chapel in the town of Zaragoza in Nueva Ecija last June 10 as he was preparing to say Mass, the third cleric to be killed in six months.

The attack occurred four days after Fr. Rey Urmeneta, a former police chaplain, was wounded in a shooting in Calamba City in Laguna province on June 6.

On April 29, Fr. Mark Ventura, known for his anti-mining advocacy, was gunned down after celebrating Mass in the province of Cagayan.

In December last year, 72-year-old Fr. Marcelito Paez was shot dead in Jaen town in Nueva Ecija after facilitaitng the release of a political prisoner.

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