Archbishop Socrates Villegas chooses silence over ‘word war’

For months, Dutrte has been bashing the Church and its people. This fiery argument was especially ignited when the President-Elect cursed the Pope because of the pontiff’s visit to the country.

The CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas at first seemed to release statements discouraging people from voting a candidate with such personality – but no official statement about voting against Duterte was said.

Following that event, Duterte continued attacking the Catholic Church to the point of saying it is the most ‘hypocritical institution’ – but to this and to many other lashing comments against the Church CBCP gave no official comment.

Until, finally on Sunday, Villegas gave his two cents on the issue at hand, and opted to confront the issue by remaining silent rather than to exchange words with the incoming President.

“There is nobility in silence like the silence of the lambs brought to slaughter in the temple to atone for sins,” said Villegas.

“There is the silence of the desert mystics that pierced the hidden secrets of the heart of God. There is the silence of the woman who treasured all those things in her heart. Silence indeed is the language of God and only those who speak silence will be able to grasp Him.”

Villegas considers his silence akin to “the silence of Jesus before the arrogance of Pilate.”

While the archbishop opted to keep silent to avoid pressing more salt to the already festering wound, Villegas believes that “there is virtue in speech” and it is in wisdom to know “when it is time for silence and when it is the timing for speech.”

“You can understand my speech if you speak the language of silence. You can understand my silence if you know how to love like Him who was born one silent night,” he said, ending his statement.

Villegas’ silence opens an avenue for reconciliation, if not with the President-elect, but in the hearts of the people caught in the middle the issue. Villegas seems to choose the silent side hoping to cooperate with the Duterte administration in the coming six years for the betterment of all.

In the same vein, Lingayen-Dagupan Emeritus Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who was under fire from his statements concerning the President-elect, has also agreed on the same notion as Villegas after a mutual friend of him and Duterte visited him, requesting the bishop to refrain from giving more commentaries about the said issue.

“Let us keep quiet from now…” said Cruz. “If you remember, I was not granting interviews the past weeks because of that [agreement].”

Now, in hopes that the healing will gradually start with regard to the drift between the incoming administration and the Church, only time can tell what will happen among these leaders. And while they are on a hiatus on blasting each other to calm the storm, it is only proper for the people to pray in silence as well, for the sake of the whole nation and all Filipinos. (Luke Godoy)

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