By CBCP News
May 19, 2020
The head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership asked church leaders to take lead in showing “calmness” and “cooperation” with the government as the nation grapples with coronavirus.
Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the episcopal conference, stressed the need for understanding and “open communication” with authorities whatever concerns the Church.
The archbishop made the statement after the government’s guidelines on the conduct of religious services triggered mixed reactions even from within the Church.
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.
One of those first to react was Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, who asked for clarification on the national guidelines.
Bishop Pabillo also said that there are also confusion as to whom they could talk with regarding regulated church gatherings.
Even Archbishop Valles described the guidelines as “impractical and without sense”.
He, however, asked his fellow bishops to seek clarification in the spirit of dialogue.
“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,” Archbishop Valles said.