Filipinos told to demand accountability from clergy

This year's Philippine Conference on New Evangelization will focus on issues affecting priests and the religious
Filipinos told to demand accountability from clergy

Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel kneels during his ordination as bishop on July 11. (Photo by Bong Sarmiento)

A newly ordained bishop in Mindanao has urged the faithful to rectify the shortcomings reportedly committed by members of the clergy by making them accountable.

"Make us accountable the same way you demand accountability from the government. Correct the clergy if we are wrong," said Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel.

The new bishop was installed last week at Christ the King Cathedral in Koronadal City with about 5,000 people attending the three-hour ceremony.

Bishop Casicas' pronouncement came as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continued his tirades against Catholic leaders in the country.

The president has accused Catholic clergy of hypocrisy for engaging in corrupt and immoral activities.

On July 10, Duterte declared a moratorium against attacks on church leaders but broke it less than 24 hours later.

Bishop Casicas admitted there are "imperfections" within the church. During his ordination, the new prelate apologized "for whatever sins and scandals we have made."

Meanwhile, this year's Philippine Conference on New Evangelization, which will start on July 18, will focus on "renewed servant-leaders for the new evangelization."

The Archdiocese of Manila has announced that Father James Mallon, episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth of Canada, will deliver the keynote message.

The weeklong gathering will discuss mainly issues confronting "ordained ministers and consecrated persons as disciples of God and their mission to join Christ as they strive to have their hearts formed."

The Philippines this year also celebrates the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila will be leading the plenary session about the "spiritual life of priests through an encounter with Christ."

The annual Philippine Conference on New Evangelization was introduced by Cardinal Tagle in 2013 as a local response to the call of a new evangelization.

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