Apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Sunday appealed anew to the government to allow more people to attend religious services instead of limiting them to 10 people only in general community quarantine areas.
In an interview with Church-run Radio Veritas, he said religious services are essential services as this would help ease the anxiety of the people especially during this pandemic.
“If they want us to be able to help, there is a need to open our churches to those who want to seek guidance from the Church by being able to go to masses,” said Pabillo.
“Give us the capacity to help the people. We can help if only they will allow people to go inside churches. Aside from physical needs, the people also have mental and spiritual needs,” he added.
Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has asked the Catholic Church and other religious denominations to help address the reported increase in suicide cases in the country by providing counseling and guidance to those suffering from depression and anxiety brought about by the pandemic.
Caloocan Bishop Pablo David said the Catholic Church is aware of the increase in suicide rates.
In a Facebook post, the acting president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said this is one of the reasons why in his diocese they are presently organizing “health care volunteers” in order to partner with the local government unit and barangays in doing online monitoring of people affected by the pandemic, especially COVID positive patients who are either in quarantine facilities or home quarantined.
But even long before the pandemic began, David said they have put up a new ministry called “Kaagapay” to provide non-professional counseling to people who are dealing with mental health issues.
“If it was already bad before the pandemic, I imagine how much worse it must be now,” he said.
“People are suffering from all kinds of anxiety and depression due to loss of job, losses in business, loss of loved ones, loss of security and peace of mind,” added David.