De Lima to Church: Stay silent and you will be irrelevant

After the recent murder of a Catholic priest in Nueva Ecija, Senator Leila de Lima has lamented the alleged silence of the Church, saying that other sects would have denounced the killing immediately if the victim was from their ranks.

“For a predominantly Catholic country, there seems to be a growing sentiment among the people I have spoken to that the Roman Catholic Church is slowly allowing itself to fall into irrelevancy,” De Lima said in a statement on Saturday, which she wrote from her detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

“Other denominations, when they deem their ranks and their beliefs are under attack, the leadership makes their voices heard, and defends their Church, their own, their followers and, most importantly, their faith,” she added, seemingly egging the church sector to criticize the recent spate of priest killings.

Fr. Richmond Nilo was gunned down on Sunday as he was preparing to celebrate mass at the Nuestra Señora de la Nieve Chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija. Nilo became the third priest to be attacked in a span of six months.

READ: Priest shot dead in chapel at start of Mass in Nueva Ecija

“Save for a few bishops, priests, and nuns, where are the Church leaders who ought to be the first to stand and give an answer?” she said.

She believes that the church group chose the “worst time to become passive.”

“But these days, it seems that the Church, as an organization, has fallen silent. Where are the words of wisdom from the highest ranking official of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines?” De Lima asked.

“The Church could not have chosen the worst time to become silent and passive.  Our people are dying. Priests who defend the people are dying,” she added.

The opposition senator, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, remains in detention for drug-related charges regarding the alleged drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as justice secretary. /jpv

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