Bishops urged to meet priests’ needs during pandemic

Published September 15, 2020, 4:03 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The acting president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called on bishops to address the needs of their priests during this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David (File photo courtesy of CBCP via PNA / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview with church-run Radio Veritas, Tuesday, Kalookan Bishop Pablo David said bishops should also help their priests as they are not spared from the emotional and mental anguish brought about by the pandemic.

“I am calling on my brother Bishops to give assistance to their priests during this time of pandemic,” he said.

“Many of them are also very vulnerable. I know some of them feel depressed and very guilty because they are unable to go out and they cannot attend to their pastoral duties,” added David.

Last week, a priest was found dead with a bullet wound inside a church in Rizal.

It was last month when Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra 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 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to David, the Catholic Church is aware of the increase in suicide rates that’s why his diocese is 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, he said they aready put up a new ministry called “Kaagapay”, to provide non-professional counseling to people who are dealing with mental health issues which include even addictions to drug, alcohol, gambling, pornography, among others.

“If it was already bad before the pandemic, I imagine how much worse it must be now,” David said in a previous Facebook post.