By Leslie Ann Aquino
Amid the spate of killings on Negros Island, four Catholic bishops called for the recitation of the “Oratio Imperata to End Killings.”
The call for the recitation of the oratio imperata (obligatory prayer) was contained in the collegial pastoral statement issued Saturday by bishops Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, Julito Cortes of Dumaguete, Patricio Buzon of Bacolod and Louie Galbines of Kabankalan.
Portions of the prayer posted by the CBCP News are written below:
“We pray that we be delivered from the evil of the killings that stalks our island. It is a violence that has deprived our people of peace;
a violence that has orphaned many families; and a violence that has traumatized and instilled paralyzing fear in our communities.
Embolden our government officials to speak out against the killings.
Challenge our police and military personnel to fully embrace their mandate to serve and protect the people.
Empower our communities to stand for the sanctity and primacy of life.
Disturb those responsible for this evil and have blood in their hands,
especially the ones who are impelled by their ideological agenda.
May they have a change of heart and be renewed.”
The oratio imperata will be recited by the faithful during Masses “until the killings stop”.
In their pastoral statement, the bishops called for an end to the “unfolding cycle of violence” in the region.
The bishops said so much blood has already been spilled in the island and that they cannot be silent against “this total disregard for the primacy and sanctity of human life”.
“The blood of those killed cries to be heard. It calls out to our basic humanity to be one with those who have been afflicted by this violence,” they said.
At least 21 people were killed in Negros Occidental in the last 10 days alone.
Aside from the recitation of the oratio, the bishops also called on their parishes, chaplaincies, mission stations and religious houses to toll church bells starting Sunday, July 28, at 8pm to protest the continued killings.