UCA News

Philippine bishops are not troublemakers, says new president

Villegas still vows to fight birth control law
Philippine bishops are not troublemakers, says new president

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan

Published: July 09, 2013 05:53 AM GMT
Updated: July 08, 2013 09:41 PM GMT

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will vigorously maintain its stand on various social issues, including its opposition to a controversial law introduced last year that allows birth control, its new president said today

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan stressed, however, that the bishops are not "social troublemakers, rally organizers, or a lobby group," but are "conscience troublemakers" and "Christ's followers."

The country's bishops, who are in Manila for their annual plenary assembly, held a Mass today to show their support for petitioners against the Reproductive Health Law who were scheduled to argue their case before the Supreme Court later in the day. 

Villegas said his election on Sunday was "unexpected," adding that "I don’t think any bishop would wish to be elected as president" of the conference.

"We in the Church, when we are given a position it does not make us taller, it just gives us longer hands so we could embrace more people," he said in an interview today.

Being president of the collegial body does not make one powerful, he said, adding it is different from being head of a school or of government.

"The president of CBCP is at the service of the bishops, so whatever the bishops say it is the duty of the president to listen and go to in that direction," he said.

The 52-year old prelate will formally assume his post on December 1.

The CBCP president and vice-president are elected for two-year terms and are traditionally re-elected for a second and final term.

Incumbent Archbishop Jose Palma, however, chose not to be re-elected so he could spend more time preparing for the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 in his archdiocese of Cebu. 

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia