By Analou De Vera
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that love is the only way to change people who have committed mistakes, especially the individuals who were incarcerated.
This was the message of the CBCP to the faithful as it observed the 32nd Prison Awareness Sunday yesterday (October 27), that aims to bring to the people’s consciousness the “plight of the members of the prison community.”
“Only love will transform our brethren who have erred. No amount of fear or terror inflicted on them will make them reform. In fact, they become hardened when treated harshly,” said CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) Chairman Bishop Joel Baylon in a statement.
Baylon said that every human being is, by nature, good.
“It is our original design, made by our Loving Father and Almighty Creator. No one is born evil,” he said.
“God’s love is unconditional and radical and it extends even to those who have committed the most heinous of crimes and most notorious criminals,” he added.
Baylon emphasized that one’s dignity will not be lost despite the wrongdoing that he or she has committed.
“They have the capacity to change for the better, especially in an environment where they would be helped to grow–this is what our corrections pillars should focus on aside from merely custodial and security concerns,” he said.
Baylon reminded the faithful what Pope Francis had said–that “confinement is not the same thing as exclusion.”
“Let us be aware of the plight of people who have ignored and long been considered dead by our society, people who have been condemned because of the sins they have committed,” said Baylon.