Australian nun challenges deportation

Australian nun challenges Philippine government

An Australian nun has fought back against the Philippine government revoking her missionary visa.

Sister Patricia Fox has been living in the Philippines for 27 years as a missionary.

Sister Fox says the Bureau of Immigration has “no right to define and delimit the scope of our missionary and apostolate works.”

The bureau says it revoked her visa because she attended protest rallies of farmers and workers demanding justice from the government.

As a result, it said the Australian nun’s actions violate the conditions of her visa that require no involvement in politics.

Her lawyer argues that it seems like an attempt to dilute the interpretation of the nun’s religious vocation. He has submitted a 25-page rebuttal of her deportation order.

He says the order violates the country’s laws as they guarantee the “free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship.”

The 71-year-old Australian nun says the bureau should have consulted a religious person. She demands therefore that they talk to a bishop or a priest to understand better the role of a missionary

“Wherever we are, we must become involved in the situation in which we live,” she says.

Church support

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez convenes the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum. He says the church especially “defines the word ‘missionary’ by defining Christ’s life.”

“A missionary of the church is a missionary for Christ. As missionaries, we are invited to immerse ourselves with the poor.”

The bureau meanwhile says the prosecutor will review the nun’s arguments against deportation. The case is pending.

Sister Fox’s activities appear especially to have angered the Philippines president.

Last month President Duterte admitted that he had personally ordered the investigation into her status.

“You do not have the right to criticize us…. just because you are a nun,” reporters quoted him.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , ,