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Bishop tells Philippine govt leaders, faithful to repent

April 18, 2017 ·  By Philippines for www.ucanews.com

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Marbel prelate’s Holy Week message calls for unity in what has become a divided nation

Filipino Catholics visit churches to pay homage to the Lord as part of the traditional observance of Holy Week in the Philippines. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

Filipino Catholics visit churches to pay homage to the Lord as part of the traditional observance of Holy Week in the Philippines. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

A Catholic bishop in the Philippines has called on the country’s government leaders to repent and confess their sins.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel said the observance of Holy Week is an opportunity for those holding office in government to reflect on what they are doing.

“Repent, return to God, pray, do penance, help especially the poor,” said the prelate, adding that “God will be the one who will finally judge us.”

Bishop Gutierrez earlier called on government leaders to unite and address the country’s problems, especially poverty and unemployment.

“We are a very divided country, instead of loving one another and helping one another to become better we are trying to put down everybody,” said the prelate.

An official of the bishops’ conference, meanwhile, said personal conversion must be expressed by serving others and confronting the “evils” the country is facing.

Father Amado Picardal, executive secretary of the Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities, said individual conversion should always lead to social responsibility.

“The mercy and compassion that we have for others also means confronting the evils around us, especially the culture of death, the violation of human rights, and the extrajudicial killings,” said the priest.

“We have to participate not just in our personal conversion but in the transformation of our society,” he added.

Church leaders have been encouraging Catholics this week to go to confession and be open to its “healing power.”

“Don’t be scared or ashamed so that you will see and receive the benefit from the Sacrament of Confession because we know that God’s mercy is infinite,” said Father Reggie Malicdem, rector of Manila Cathedral.

The priest said shame and fear are common feelings and are part of the process of asking for an apology.

“That’s humility but let us not allow them to keep you from experiencing this unique gift the church provides for the faithful,” said Father Malicdem.

The priest explained that “when saying you want someone to listen to you and you want to hear that you are being forgiven.”

“In the church we use tangible elements of our faith,” added Father Malicdem.

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