DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Priests in some dioceses in Laguna were already reported to have carried guns with them for self-defense after three priests, all in Luzon, were gunned down by still unknown gunmen.
Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of the Catholic Diocese of San Pablo, Laguna did not confirm nor deny the reports but he said he was personally against the idea of a priest carrying a gun for self-defense.
“Personally, I do not approve of priests owning a gun for whatever purposes,” he told a Catholic radio station interview.
He said the issue surfaced due to the recent attacks on clergymen. Bishop Famadico said that he would discuss this during there regular clergy meeting.
“We will discuss it in our clergy assembly to arrive at a common policy,” he said.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao City, who is the current head of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippine (CBCP), shared the same position with that of Bishop Fanadico.
In an interview in the same radio station, he said that he strongly admonished against arming priests, saying priests were “supposed to be men of peace, not violence.”
“I would strongly oppose to arm the priests,” he said.
“We are men of God, men of the Church and it is part of our ministry to face dangers, to face deaths if one may say that way. But we would do it just what Jesus did,” he added.
Fr. Richmond Nilo was the third priest shot dead in the country under the Duterte administration. He was inside a chapel holding mass in the town of Zaragoza in Nueva Ecija province. On April 29, Fr. Mark Ventura, known for his anti-mining advocacy, was shot dead after celebrating mass in a gymnasium in the town of Gattara, province of Cagayan. In December last year, Fr. Marcelito Paez was shot dead in Jaen, another town in Nueva Ecija. He was a known facilitator in the release of political prisoners. (davaotoday.com)