Philippine bishops’ conference head, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said he is appalled at the way Catholics in the Philippines are behaving.
They are making their clergy “martyrs” to harassment on social media and an easy target of trolls who make up lies for the media about them.
This is because of the clergy’s continued criticisms to certain government policies, he said.
Many of those who are targeting the clergy say they are Catholic, Villegas says.
At the same time, they are watching the clergy become the “punching bag of public officials” which Villegas says their own parishioners “view with glee”.
Villegas is strongly opposed to Duterte’s war on drugs, which has killed thousands of people in vigilante-style executions.
Villegas gave an example of the excuses Catholics are making for their behaviour.
“I am a Catholic, but I agree that drug addicts must be killed; they are useless. I am a Catholic but I am pro-death penalty. … I am a Catholic, but I do not always obey my bishop, he is too old-fashioned. … I am a priest but my bishop’s circulars are optional for obedience. … I am a Catholic but … I am a Catholic but …,’” Villegas said.
He has led prayer marches and written letters and official conference documents decrying the “war on drugs” and the death penalty.
Other church officials have also expressed dismay through various statements.
News category: World.