CBCP to offer masses, nationwide prayer for clergymen accused of sedition

By Christina Hermoso

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Davao City Archbishop Romulo Valles has scheduled holy masses and a nationwide call to prayer in support of the clergymen being accused of sedition and cyber libel.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President. (CBCP FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President. (CBCP FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Let us be in solidarity with them in prayer. Let us invite our priests, our religious, our people to join us in this solidarity in prayer,” Valles said in a CBCP News post.

In a letter to the archdioceses and dioceses, Valles asked that holy masses that will be said on Aug. 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, and Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, be offered for their intention.

“Let us pray for them, include them in our reflection and homilies, in the prayers of the faithful,” the prelate said. "Let us also entrust them to the maternal protection of the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus, and who is our Mother too,” he added.

The Davao archbishop stressed, he had no doubt that the accused bishops and priests were innocent of the charges, but they still needed support in the “difficult days ahead.”

The Church leader also invited the faithful to pray for all those involved in the probe “so that fairness, justice, and truth will guide them.”

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has accused Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Novaliches Bishop-Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Father Albert Alejo, Father Robert Reyes, and Father Flaviano Villanueva of sedition and cyber libel along with several opposition leaders including Vice President Leni Robredo.

Government prosecutors have set on August 9 the preliminary probe on the cases filed by the police against the clergymen and several opposition figures. The Department of Justice has already summoned all the accused to the investigation.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle had earlier released a special prayer for the accused clergymen. The Prayer for the Nation will be recited in all Sunday Masses in parishes under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Manila this August starting today, August 4, Feast of Saint John Vienney, the patron saint of all priests and clergymen.