Leaders of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila on Friday said the country is facing a “crisis of truth” and called for 12 days of prayer and fasting starting May 20, adding it was “almost impossible” for ordinary citizens to know which news is true or fake at present.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo believes this crisis has reached “alarming” levels, as Filipinos and the public were already confusing the truth with the extent of misleading news going around.
This came a day after Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in a circular letter ahead of the Catholic Solemnity of the Ascension released to the media on Thursday, said the crisis of truth “has sown seeds of suspicion, mistrust and fragmentation” across the country.
“Experts in the constitution give us conflicting interpretation of basic questions of the law. Partisan politics has turned into political ‘tribalization.’ The common good is one of the first casualties,” Tagle said.
His comments came a week after the Supreme Court unseated Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno by upholding a quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General, a move that was largely criticized by Christian groups across the country.
The Palace and ranking government officials had yet to react to the Catholic leader’s comments as of press time.
Pabillo said Tagle’s message echoed that of Pope Francis on the 52nd World Communication Day on May 10, entitled “The Truth Will Set You Free: Journalism and Fake News for Peace.”
“The false news is spreading, so people are confused as to how we can make it clear. Let us clarify these events for the sake of our faithful,” he said.
Tagle’s circular also led to an urgent meeting of 138 priests, including Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr. and controversial Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox, at the San Carlos Seminary for them “to contemplate and act on it,” Pabillo said.
The Manila cardinal urged everyone to unite in what he called “Feasts of truth and love” within 12 days, beginning May 20, Pentecost Sunday, until May 31, when the Church celebrated the festival of the Virgin Mary’s visit to cousin Elizabeth—a celebration that values truth and love.
This will be done by a 12-day bell-ringing at all churches in the Archdiocese at 3 p.m., in memory of the death of Jesus and to ask God to send the Holy Spirit to guide the people towards in reality nowadays.
He said the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy will also be simultaneously recited in all churches, chapels, conventions, schools, offices and homes.
Tagle also asked for the strengthening of value-sharing programs and promoting the common good for the betterment of the majority, and the restoration of trust and reconciliation.
The cardinal also encouraged the faithful to fast during these activities as sacrifices and to express their commitment to the truth.
“For those who cannot engage in fasting due to sickness or age, we recommend concrete actions of charity and service,” Tagle added.
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