The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) extended its sympathies to the loved ones of those whose lives were senselessly ended following an apparent act of terror and blatant anti-LGBT attack in Orlando, Florida in the US, where at 49 people were killed and 53 more wounded after a gunman opened fire inside a gay club because he was supposedly offended seeing two men kissing.
In a statement, CBCP president Socrates Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen, Dagupan, stated that “while we may have reasons to disagree with sexual preferences, or reprove certain forms of sexual activity, this can never justify hatred, let alone, murder of another human being.”
Villegas added that “we, bishops of the Philippine Church, unite ourselves with those who mourn in prayer.”
Villegas also called what happened as a “hate crime — the murder of persons because of disgust for their sexual orientation.”
The CBCP is now emphasizing: 1) the need for mercy; 2) not accepting a society that tolerates and perhaps even foments forms of violence, even if this should be in the name of restoring law and order; and 3) continue the dialogue and the conversation with those “forced to the peripheries… over the things about which we disagree.”
Though the CBCP has been one of the staunchest opponents of passing an anti-discrimination law that will protect the human rights of LGBT people in the Philippines, in 2015, it actually gave a “partial support” to the passage of an anti-discrimination bill (ADB).
However, this support is limited by CBCP’s desire for it to still be allowed to discriminate, particularly in: 1) determining who should be admitted to priestly or religious formation, who should be ordained and received into Holy Order, or who should be professed as members of religious communities and orders; and 2) for Catholic schools to be allowed to discriminate on who they can admit or retain.
The CBCP also stressed its “love the sinner, hate the sin” position by claiming its “disapproval of homosexual acts (that) remains part of the Church’s moral teaching.”