By Leslie Ann Aquino
The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has asked church leaders to take the lead in showing “calmness” and “cooperation” with the government amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles issued the call after the government’s guidelines on the conduct of religious services triggered mixed reactions even from within the Church.
“My sincere thought is, may we try to take the lead in showing the spirit of patience, calmness, understanding, open communication, and cooperation in these very trying times as we continue to patiently present our particular concerns to the proper authorities,” he said in a CBCP News post.
Valles said while the guidelines may at first come across as impractical or without sense, its best to seek clarification in the spirit of dialogue.
“I believe that the way forward is to patiently ask and seek clarification from the source of these guidelines,” he said.
“It is good to remind ourselves that these guidelines are meant not only for the Catholic Church but for all men and women and communities of faith who practice different modes of worship and prayer,” Valles added.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infection Diseases (IATF-EID) on May 16 allowed the holding of religious gatherings in areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).
Under its guidelines, religious gatherings in areas under MECQ would be highly restricted and limited to five persons only, and a maximum of 10 in GCQ areas.