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Combined spiritual, safety acts needed vs. Covid-19

September 25, 2020 - Friday 8:09 PM by PNA

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MANILA – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday said that it would be good if the people would practice spiritual intervention and health protocols in helping prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“My take in this kind of situation is, it would be good to combine both, the spiritual intervention and the practical (approach) that we can do while we face this kind of crisis,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of CBCP– Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), in a radio interview.

This came in response to the homily of Lipa Archbishop emeritus Ramon Arguelles who said there is no need to wear face masks and observe social distancing as long as there is faith and love for God.

Secillano added that it is the personal opinion of the retired archbishop since it is his homily.

“Number one it’s a Homily, it's his personal reflection,” he said.

The CBCP official added that the stand of the Church is to follow the health safety protocols being implemented by the government.

“We can see the response of the church regarding the guidelines being implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). It is very clear that when the Task Force ordered for churches to temporarily closed, we complied. We required all the faithful to wear mask and face shield, when we were told to do so. When only 10 percent capacity are allowed inside the church, we also abide. It only means that the church is in full cooperation with the government,” Secillano said.

At the same time, he believes that Arguelles was overwhelmed with emotions when he delivered the message as the mass was held to celebrate the feast of Saint Padre Pio, who is known to be the saint of healing.

“What I know, the mass was held to celebrate the feast of Padre Pio, we all know that Padre Pio is a priest of healing. So he delivered his message maybe he is overwhelmed. There is nothing impossible with God. I would believe that, so there is nothing impossible with God,” the Catholic priest added.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said they respect the opinion of the retired prelate.

“We fully understand the personal opinion of former Archbishop of Lipa Ramon Arguelles as one of the former leaders but still an influential personality of the Roman Catholic in the Philippines. As a Roman Catholic myself, I believe that the Almighty God is the Great Healer and the reason why our nation continues to stand its ground despite the adverse impacts of Covid-19,” he said in a statement.

Eleazar, however, said the task force believes in the old Filipino proverb, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa" (Mercy is up to God, work is up to the people).

He said their actions are based on scientific points of view and recommendations of health experts.

“Regardless of our religious affiliations and beliefs, we in the JTF Covid Shield believe that the responsibility of protecting ourselves, protecting our families, protecting our community and protecting our nation as a whole from the Covid-19 still lies in our actions based on the scientific points of view and recommendations of health experts who are the persons in authority when it comes to this pandemic,” Eleazar added.

He added that science and religion are not enemies and therefore must not clash on the aspect of protection from Covid-19.

"Instead, both science and religion should serve as our shield and armor as Filipinos and as a nation to fight, to win and to heal as one,” he said. Ferdinand Patinio with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan