Bishops urged to stand up for truth

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol January 27,2018 - 09:57 PM


Bishops should stand up for the truth no matter what it entails.

Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines or Pope Francis’ representative in the country, made this call to the 85 bishops from all over the country, who have gathered in Cebu for the three-day Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that started on Saturday.

“Do we have the courage to proclaim the truth even if it’s risky? As leaders and apostles, we have to proclaim the truth. Our goal is not a confrontation of powers but conversion. Jesus said he is sending us like sheep among wolves, so we have to be shrewd and wise as snakes, and simple like doves,” said Caccia during the homily of the Mass opening the plenary assembly.

This is the second time that the proceedings of the Church’s highest governing body is held in Cebu since the CBCP was established in 1945. The first time Cebu hosted the Plenary Assembly was in 2016, just days before the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.

During the opening Mass on Saturday morning, the new set of CBCP officers led by its president, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, were inducted into office.

In an interview, Valles said the collegial body of bishops is set to discuss a variety of topics, including the new guidelines for seminary formation and preparations for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country in 2021.

The CBCP Plenary Assembly will continue until Monday, January 29 at the Oakridge Pavilion in Mandaue City.

Also present at the gathering is Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

In his homily, Caccia said the gathering of bishops conveys a message of unity and communion among those chosen by the Lord to lead His people.

“I’m very touched to be with all the bishops of this country. When we come together, we have a wonderful sign of Jesus and his apostles. It’s good to be all together as a body. We function differently but a living body with the same goal, aspiration, and foundation that is in Jesus Christ our Lord,” he said.

Caccia, who assumed his post as apostolic nuncio to the Philippines in November 2017, reminded the bishops to be “at the service of God’s people.”

“When we were ordained bishops, each one received a particular portion of the people of God. We are called to guide, to shepherd, and to sanctify our people. When people come to us, we know what is the right answer. We know what is correct and what is false, what should be done and what should be avoided,” he said.

“Let us help each other become better disciples and better servant of the people. It is important to be leaders who can lead, not just others, but ourselves as well,” he added.

Caccia invoked the Holy Spirit to guide the bishops as they decide on matters that concerns the country and the Church.

The CBCP Plenary Assembly is held every January and July.

In the past, plenary assemblies were held in the cities of Baguio and Tagaytay until 2002 when the bishops decided to hold their meetings in Manila.
In 2016, however, the bishops chose to hold the event in Cebu where the 51st IEC was done.

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