CATHOLIC BISHOPS HAIL SAINTHOOD FOR 2 FORMER PONTIFFS
MANILA, July 8, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Evelyn Macairan - Several Catholic bishops yesterday welcomed reports that Pope Francis has signed canonization decrees for former pontiffs Pope John Paul II, who was greatly loved by many Filipinos, and Pope John XXIII. Their canonization rites will reportedly be held within the year.
“That is wonderful. We will have saints who are contemporary. We know them and the canonization is the seal of their holiness,” said Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, who heads the public affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Pope John Paul II, who was of Polish descent, was credited for helping topple communism and for starting the World Youth Day, an international event that brings together youths from around the world.
Pope John XXIII, meanwhile, convened the Second Vatican Council that paved the way for the enactment of sweeping reforms to modernize the church.
“Pope John Paul II was one pope who had a very special love for the young people. He could draw thousands of young people to him and closer to the church,” said Legazpi, Albay Bishop Joel Baylon.
“We welcome with joy and thanksgiving this announcement on the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Both have made the Catholic church relevant to the present times and through God’s grace, brought many people closer to God. John XXIII prepared the faithful for changes in the church and Pope John Paul II implemented many things to make the Catholic church relevant to the present time,” said Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad.
HANDS-OFF POLICY: GOVT URGED TO STOP HELPING CONVICTED DRUG MULES
MANILA (PHILSTAR) By Paolo Romero - Administration lawmakers yesterday called on Malacañang to adopt what they called a hands-off policy on cases involving Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking abroad following the execution of a Filipina drug mule in China last Wednesday.
Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said the failed bid of the government for commutation of the death sentence meted on the 35-year-old Filipina drug courier only proved that it is futile to attempt to intervene in another country’s judicial system.
“I think that it’s time for us to adopt a hands-off policy on cases of Filipinos that involve narco-trafficking even in countries that still implement death penalty. It’s time that we stop unnecessarily placing our government’s war against drug abuse in serious question,” Sarmiento said. He said while it is the obligation of the government to extend help to all distressed Filipinos abroad, legal assistance for those who are in trouble with the law should only be extended by the state during the trial stage for cases related to drug smuggling and trafficking.
The lawmaker said the government should stop interceding for and on their behalf upon conviction, even if only to ask for the commutation of their sentence.
“They are destroying the future of our youth and they are tearing families apart. We must stop protecting those who are behind this scourge even if they are Filipinos. They are an embarrassment to all of us and they do not deserve any of our sympathy,” Sarmiento said.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said drug smuggling is “a crime against humanity” and the government should show no mercy even if it involves a fellow Filipino.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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