Church leaders lead prayer rally vs violence
BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST
WEARING black shirts and arm bands, around 50 people — most of whom came from different religious organizations — gathered at Plaza Hamabar in downtown Cebu City on Friday to denounce the recent spate of killings in Cebu and the persistent attacks against the Catholic Church and God.
Fr. Jose Bagadiong Jr., SVD said the “Black Friday Protest” was intended to ventilate grievances and to encourage the public to fight the culture of
violence in the country.
“This is an expression of outrage especially from the clergy and the religious. We denounce President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies especially the killings, cursing, degrading of women, and the assault on our faith,” he said in an interview on Friday.
“What has been happening in our country is alarming. The assault is comprehensive. I think it’s time for the people to wake up now,” he added.
The event was preceded by a Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, followed by a procession to the nearby Plaza Hamabar where participants prayed the rosary and gathered for a candle-lighting event.
The Black Friday Protest was spearheaded by the People’s Campaign Against Tyranny in coordination with the Archdiocesan Commission on Social
Bagadiong, one of the organizers of the event, said they will hold similar gatherings in the coming days until President Duterte will stop insulting the Church and God.
“We will not stop criticizing the President until he stops what he is doing,” he said.
The Black Friday Protest was held three days before President Duterte will deliver his third State of the Nation Address.
A harsh critic of the Catholic Church, President Duterte earned the ire of religious groups after he ranted about and called the God of the Catholics as “stupid.”
Facing an intense backlash over his scathing remarks against the church, the country’s top government leader formed a committee to dialogue with the Catholic Church and other religious groups.
From Tuesday to Thursday this week, some Catholics heeded the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to fast, pray, and give alms to the poor to invoke God’s mercy and justice on “those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country.”
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