The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to pray, light up candles and toll church bells for 40 days for the victims of the war against illegal drugs and the Marawi City siege.
In a pastoral statement titled “Lord heal our land,” the prelates expressed horror at the deaths of three teenagers in the past weeks amid the government’s war against illegal drugs.
“We are appalled by the remorselessness by which even the young are executed,” the CBCP said in a statement issued on Tuesday and signed by CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
The prelates were referring to the killings of Kian Loyd delos Santos, 17, Carlo Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo De Guzman, 14, in past weeks.
“The relentless and bloody campaign against drugs that shows no sign of abating impels us your bishops to declare: In the name of God, stop the killings! May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings!” the bishops said.
The CBCP pointed out that for some, it becomes easier to consent to the elimination of other members of society who are labeled “unsalvageable”, “irremediable”, “hopelessly perverse” or “irreparably damaged.”
“We stand firmly against drugs and the death drugs have caused, but killing is not the solution of the problem,” they said, adding that the wounded need hands to help them up, and not feet to trample on them.
The CBCP also stressed the need for the country’s healing to begin by instilling the value of being concerned and caring for one another, and for the rule of law to prevail.
“For the sake of the children and the poor, stop their systematic murders and spreading reign of terror! In memory of those killed, let us start the healing of our bleeding nation,” they said.
The 40-day period of prayer will begin on September 23 and will end on November 1.
The CBCP encouraged the faithful to say the rosary every day and receive Holy Communion as an offering for the souls of those killed.
“May the souls of the killed find rest. Prayer heals us. Prayer helps their souls,” they said.
The CBCP also appealed for the tolling of church bells every 8 p.m., or the tradition of “De Profundis,” during the 40-day period in remembrance of those who were killed.
This is apart from the lighting of candles for 40 days in front of the faithful’s homes, cemeteries, public places, and in spots where victims were killed.