ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Redemptorists: "It is urgent to combat violence and impunity"

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Posted on: 07/15/18
Cebu - "It is urgent to wake up and fight the culture of impunity and violence in the country": this is the appeal launched by the Redemptorists of the Philippines, on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the abduction of Redemptorist priest Rudy Romano. In a statement sent to Fides, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer stated that "an atmosphere of fear, violence and anxiety has fallen on the Philippines".
The text notes: "The growing culture of impunity and apathy in our country has motivated heartless people to kill helpless brothers and sisters, including priests and pastors. These are threatening signs that the spirit of evil and its servants are determined to do harm to Jesus and to the Church". The declaration, signed by Fr. Ariel Lubi, superior of the vice-province of the Redemptorists of Manila, and Fr. Copernicus Perez Jr., superior of the congregation in the province of Cebu, warns: "We cannot allow this to continue to happen. We invite our fellow Filipinos to be vigilant, to 'be the voice of the voiceless' and not to remain defenseless in the face of the persecution of the Church and the blatant assault on the human rights of our people".
Rudy Romano, a priest and activist who denounced the oppression of the poor, was kidnapped by armed men in Barangay Tisa, in the city of Cebu, on July 11, 1985, and has never been seen since. His disappearance was remembered by friends, seminarians, priests and faithful with a mass and lighting of candles at the Redemptorist Church of Cebu and with a prayer vigil in Tisa, where a memorial gravestone was placed, which describes the kidnappers as "agents of the deposed regime of Marcos". "After thirty-three years, no justice has been done for Father Romano and other victims of martial law", says the statement.
The text points out: "Our mourning and our complaints become more intense and profound as we continue to witness in these days the brutal death of our faithful, including our Pastors". The reference is to the campaign of extrajudicial executions that are registered in the "war on drugs" launched by President Rodrigo Duterte and the recent killings of priests who have ravaged the country.


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