Philippine bishops bar priests from anti-narcotics busts
Joining such operations is not the work of the church, they say
Priests join a "Walk for Life" in February to condemn the spate of drug-related killings in the country. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
Several Catholic bishops in the Philippines have announced that they will not allow priests to join the government’s renewed anti-narcotics campaign.
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa earlier invited priests to join police operations against illegal drugs.
"It’s not the work of the church, especially the priests to identify and arrest those suspected of being involved in selling or using drugs," said Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan.
The prelate, however, said the church has programs that focus on the "moral and spiritual rehabilitation of drug victims."
The campaign against narcotics has already resulted in the death of at least 8,000 people since it was launched eight months ago.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo earlier described dela Rosa’s invitation as "mere propaganda."
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said he would not allow his priests to join police operations because "it’s not an area of our calling."
He said the government's anti-narcotics campaign "has gained an unfortunate and bad reputation."
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