Catholics look to new Manila prelate to champion human rights

Catholics look to new Manila prelate to champion human rights

Sourced from UCA News by Tracy Cabrera

MANILA — With his appointment as the new archbishop of Manila by Pope Francis, Cardinal Jose Advincula is expected to defend the faithful, especially the poor, from human rights violations that have lately been raised as an unfortunate offshoot of the Duterte administration’s ongoing war on illegal drugs.

Advincula, who was given by the pope his nomenclature ‘the listening cardinal’ of Capiz, was appointed by the pontiff last March 25 to replace Cardinal Antonio Tagle who vacated the position on his promotion to the prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican.

In welcoming Advincula as Manila’s 33rd archbishop, Pinoy Catholics expressed hope that Manila’s newly appointed archbishop will live up to his billing as a passionate rights advocate and be a voice for the poor in fighting for human rights.

“We hope Cardinal Advincula, as the new archbishop of Manila, will speak up for the poor, particularly families of those traumatized by extrajudicial killings in Manila,” a local churchgoer enthused.

The churchgoers, who later admitted being the mother of an alleged victim of extrajudicial killing, stressed that much is expected from Manila’s new archbishop, especially with regards to the number of killings linked to the government’s ‘drug war’ and other murders in the Philippine capital.

“The Archdiocese of Manila is a killing ground. Many are being shot by unknown assailants almost every day. I wonder how our new shepherd will react to this issue,” she added.

Another Manila resident said the new archbishop should not turn a blind eye to allegations of corruption in government, particularly over a lack of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Being archbishop of Manila is not only about celebrating Mass for the people. It is more than that. It is to be with people’s suffering and part of this is to address the reasons that make them poor…. One of them is corruption in government,” the resident noted.

Most city residents said they had expected a bishops’ conference official like its president, Archbishop Romulo Valles, or vice-president, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, to be archbishop.

Some, however, were not surprised with Advincula’s appointment.

“We were not entirely surprised because when Pope Francis made Cardinal Advincula a Cardinal, his seat in Capiz is not for a cardinal so the logical option would have been to transfer him to Manila which is a seat fit for a cardinal,” a priest, who requested anonymity, opined in an apparent reference to Vatican politics.

Cardinal Advincula is known for his strong views, though, particularly on the importance of promoting human rights in the Catholic Church’s mission.

“Protecting human rights is never an option. They are at the heart of every church’s mission. The dignity of the human person is the key to social problems that beset a nation,” Advincula underscored to answer a query about the Church’s stand regarding extrajudicial killings.

When he was then archbishop of the diocese of Capiz, he also led efforts to combat online sex trafficking.

“The Church has to see to it that human dignity and the human rights of people are respected,” he earlier stated in a past interview.

And commenting on his new appointment, Cardinal Advincula asked Catholics to accompany him in prayers on his assumption of the leadership of the country’s largest diocese.

“I take this blessing not only for myself but also for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Capiz and of course for the entire Philippines … I am asking the faithful and the religious to pray for me as I pray for everybody,” he concluded. (AI/MTVN)

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