Pastoral Exhortation

KIDNAPPINGS have been going on in our country. We join people of good will in condemning these kidnappings, such as those that recently happened in Jolo, Zamboanga and Ipil, even as we sympathize with the victims and their families and beg the Lord to touch the hearts of the kidnappers.

In solidarity in particular with the Archdiocese of Zamboanga and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo, we are appealing for the safe return of the kidnapped, like the three International Red Cross workers kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf. These Red Cross workers are there for humanitarian purpose and work of compassion. We thank and join Pope Benedict XVI in his concern for the families of the hostages and “appeal that humanitarian feeling and reason might have the upper hand over violence and intimidation.”

We appeal to both the groups of kidnappers and government officials to use every peaceful means to address whatever is at the root of this ongoing problem of kidnapping in order that there may be peace in Jolo, in Mindanao and the whole country.

We appeal to all groups of kidnappers in the name of our common humanity and in the name of the One Merciful and Just God whom we worship to grant freedom to their captives.

Lastly, we exhort our Filipino Brothers and Sisters to reach out to both kidnappers and their hostages with prayers. Let it be a whole nation praying that all may experience true freedom and security. May healing and forgiveness take place, hostilities cease and peace prevail.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

(SGD)+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro & CBCP President
April 1, 2009

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