Expert: Church should assert credibility amid priest killings

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(L-R) Father Richmond Nilo, Father Mark Ventura, and Father Marcelito Paez

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24) — A religion sociologist urged the Catholic Church to assert its credibility as a social institution amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent tirades against it.

“We haven’t heard much about the Catholic Church on these issues...Church attendance has declined,” said religion sociologist Jayeel Cornelio.

He added the silence of the Church on such issues is also among the reasons why it is losing its credibility especially among the youth.

This comes after Duterte slammed both God and the Church on Friday amid the killing of three priests in the last six months.

"Who is this stupid God? Estupido talaga itong p***** i** kung ganun (This is stupid if this is true). You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,” Duterte said.

"So tayo ngayon, all of us are born with an original sin….Was it the first kiss? What was the sin? Bakit original? Nasa womb ka pa, may kasalanan ka na,” he added.

[Translation: So now, all of us are born with an original sin...Was it the first kiss? What was the sin? Why is it original? You still in the womb, yet you already have a sin.]

On December 4 last year, Father Marcelito Paez was killed in Nueva Ecija. The killing of Father Mark Ventura in Cagayan followed on April 29, then of Father Richmond Nilo in Nueva Ecija on June 10.

Cornelio also said authorities should thoroughly investigate and resolve the cases of the priests’ killings so that the President would not be associated as complicit to the crime.

“It's important to highlight how the state is responding,” he said.

Duterte had earlier said he has “preliminary findings” on the killings of the priests, saying he is ready to release them anytime but “it would not be good for the Catholic Church.”

Meanwhile, Fr. Raul Enriquez of the Diocese of Quezon Province said the Church has admitted and asked forgiveness for all the exposed scandals.

“Kaya humihingi rin tayo ng tawad. Marami din tayong kasalanan hindi tayo nagmamalinis, hindi tayo nagmamagaling,” Enriquez.

[Translation: This is why we apologize. We are not denying that we have many sins.]