“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2
We would like to remind Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque of this biblical quote after he warned that the government could shut down churches if they defied protocols on mass gatherings set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to prevent the further surge of the virus in the metropolitan area.
Roque said the state could use its police power to close down churches in reaction to the statement of the Archdiocese of Manila that they would allow churchgoers to occupy up to 10 percent of churches’ maximum capacity in masses during the Holy Week.
Threatening to padlock churches during the Holy Week betrayed Roque’s lack of respect for our long-cherished Christian values and tradition.
Roque made the threat after Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo exhorted parishioners to attend masses in defiance of the IATF resolution.
Later in the week, however, the IATF, perhaps through divine intervention, announced that it will allow 10 percent of the church capacity to attend masses inside the church from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday in all churches.
We welcome the reversal of the IATF edict because in the first place closing down churches during the Lenten Season, one of the holiest periods among Roman Catholics in the country, was wrong. How come that the churches were ordered closed when malls and resorts are open as well as hotels for staycations? Malls and resorts are super spreaders of the virus and not churches.
Several bishops have slammed the ban on religious gatherings, saying it was implemented unilaterally and unfairly. Pabillo said the ban on religious gatherings within the “NCR-Plus” bubble was a violation of religious freedom.
He also said the government did not consult the Church before implementing the restrictions.
Indeed, the impasse could have been avoided and Roque could not have made his uncalled-for threat had the IATF consulted with Church officials before announcing its unilateral move. This was what Bishop Pabillo has emphasized and we totally agree with him.