Bishop decries attitude of indifference amid COVID-19 pandemic

Erik Tenedero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2020 10:02 PM | Updated as of Apr 11 2020 09:31 AM

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop and apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, delivers his homily during Good Friday's Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Intramuros, Manila. Screengrab from Manila Cathedral's Facebook livestream

MANILA--A Manila bishop on Friday criticized the prevailing cruelty existing in humanity, and the culture of indifference even amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Reflecting on the cross of Jesus Christ in his homily during the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion at the Manila Cathedral, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the Manila archdiocese’s apostolic administrator, recalled how the Romans perfected crucifixion as the ultimate form of punishment, not just to simply bring death but to also torture and humiliate. 

“How cruel man can be to his fellow human beings, he invented death on the cross . . . Hanggang ngayon ganyan ang kasamaan ng tao sa kaniyang kapwa tao. Walang awa. Gustong magpakasakit, gustong pumatay, at maghiganti,” Pabillo said. 

“Hindi ba ganyan pa rin ang nangyayari sa mga torture na ginagawa sa tao, sa mga pagpatay ng mga inosenteng tao na sila ay collateral damage lang sa mga digmaan at pagbobomba sa mga extrajudicial killings, sa mga pananalitang ‘patayin sila’ na galing sa mga bibig ng mga mga makapangyarihan?”

[That form of cruelty among people exists until today. People show no mercy, people want to hurt others, kill, seek revenge. Isn’t this what happens until today, torture, killing innocent people who are collateral damage in wars, bombings, extrajudicial killings? Calling for the death of people, words that come out of those in power?]

And as the world goes through the COVID-19 crisis, Pabillo said this cruelty continues with the indifference to the poor and the frontliners. 

“Nandiyan pa rin ang kasamaan ng pagwawalang kibo o indifference sa kahirapan ng iba. Nandiyan pa ang pagsasantabi ng iba para kami maligtas, itataboy ang mga dayuhan, itinataboy ang mga suspetsadong may virus kasi sila ay nasa frontline upang tulungan ang mga tao sa mga ospital at mga tindahan,” the prelate added. 

[There is evil in being indifferent toward others' hardships, ignoring others just to save oneself, driving away foreigners, shunning those who are suspected of the coronavirus because they've been at the frontlines helping at hospitals and at stores.]

Pabillo reminded Catholics that Jesus suffered the same cruelty and that the Cross should inspire people not to tolerate sin and evil. 

“Let us beat our breasts and be sorry for the great inhumanity that is happening around us. Ganito kabigat ang kasamaan. But the whole picture changes when see Jesus on the cross. Ginamit ng Diyos ang kasamaan ng tao, dinanas o in-experience niya ang kasamaan ng tao upang ipaabot sa atin ang kaniyang kabutihan,' the bishop said. 

[It is through man's cruelty, through his experience suffering in mankind's hands that he delivered onto us his goodness.]

Pabillo also urged Filipinos to remain hopeful amid the crisis brought by the novel coronavirus. Now more than ever, he said, no one should doubt God’s love and his capacity to heal and save. 

“Let us not doubt the love of God even in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. Ginagamit ng Diyos ang pandemic na ito upang ipaabot sa atin ang kaniyang pag-ibig, tulad ng ginamit niya ang krus upang ipadama sa atin na mahalaga tayo para sa kaniya. Nothing can separate us from the love of God — not even the cross, not even the coronavirus,” Pabillo added. 

[God is using this pandemic to show us his love, just like how he used the cross to tell us that we are important to him.]

The Good Friday liturgy at Manila Cathedral, just like from other cathedral churches and parishes throughout the country, was celebrated without the presence of the congregations to adhere to the government’s lockdown protocols that bars large gatherings. 

Instead, the rites were broadcast on television and radio, as well as through various online platforms. 

This will continue throughout the Easter season as President Rodrigo Duterte extended the Luzon-wide lockdown until April 30 to curb the spread of the virus. 

At the time this story was posted, a total of 4,195 people in the country have been infected of COVID-19 while death toll stands at 221.