LINGAYEN-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas gave the meaning of the celebration of Christmas this year in a political context, as he lashed out at the Duterte government anew and urged the faithful in his archdiocese to “resist the spread of vulgarity and the contagion of violence”
In his Christmas message he titled “Stand up for the newborn Jesus!” that he ordered read in all Christmas masses in his archdiocese, Villegas curtly said, “There is no Christmas hope for the cowards and the timid. Christmas demands that we stand up bravely for the Lord!”
“The greater enemy to fight is cowardice and timidity. Tolerance is not a virtue. Tolerance of evil makes us accomplices. It is vulgar to laugh at vulgarity,“ he said.
Then he pointed out, “We your bishops are called “walang silbi (useless)” and you have been encouraged to kill us. You are admonished to stay home and not go to the Church because you will just see hypocrites at Mass who worship a stupid God.”
“Where are the true believers of Christ?,” he asked pointedly to underscore his warning against the cowards and the timid among his flock.
“How long must we endure these? What is Christmas for? Is this what we have become as a Catholic nation? The answer must be no! We must resist the spread of vulgarity and the contagion of violence.”
Villegas added: “There is violence against political opponents. The statistics of unsolved murders continues to rise. There are more drugs to buy. There are more criminals set free and the opponents are threatened with imprisonment. Everything is turned into a bad joke. The poor are poorer and the rich are getting poor”.
Citing the country’s recent experience with bullying in a university, “We scold children who bully their fellow children but we laugh at elderly bullies who flaunt vulgar humor.”
On killings, Villegas said, “Christmas teaches us that the killing people who kill people is not human. Killing is the solution offered by jungle justice not by civilized societies.”
Still on vulgarity, “When we hear vulgarity, stand up and proclaim the greater power of the innocence of a child. When we hear children curse, turn them away from the bad examples they see and bring them to the Child in the crib. Vulgarity is contrary to Christmas,” he said.
On taunting of women, Villegas said “…when violent words are thrown at women and indecent gestures are offered to them, speak up and defend…”
In affirming the meaning of Christmas, he said, ”Christmas is a feast of joy and courage to stand up for Jesus and defend what He taught through the Christmas story.
“Let us stand up against vulgarity with the powerful innocence of the Christ Child. Let us defend human life by siding with Jesus and not applauding Herod. Let us stand up for womanhood best taught us by the purity of the Virgin Mary,” he said.
“Stand up for life. Stand up for purity. Stand up for human dignity. We cannot find Christmas joy in timidity and cowardice. Stand up and choose the Lord!,” he said.
He ended his message with this “Take courage so that your Christmas may be truly merry! (With PhilStar Wire Service)
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