CITY OF SAN FERNANDO--Amid the rants of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte against the Catholic Church and some of its bishops, San Fernando Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto on Wednesday urged the faithful to "pray for him to stand by the truth, pursue common good and uplift the dignity of Filipinos."
Aniceto, the feisty pro-life prelate now retired but still active with his mission and advocacies, told Sun.Star Pampanga that the incoming president is "in a complicated situation that needs guidance and prayers."
"His situation seems to be complicated. I believe that it was affected by his personal experiences with the Church. Kasi, parang may experience siya, isang personal experience pero hindi sa buong simbahan. Sinasabi niya hindi naman lahat ng obispo kalaban ko, something like that," he said.
Aniceto said that the Church respects that experience and as a Shepherd of the Lord, he accepts Duterte "for what he is."
"Iginagalang natin iyan. Para sa akin, tinatanggap ko ang tao kung paano siya. Let us accept people as they are. And we have to give him a chance, one year, two years. He is new to this top post. What we all need to do is pray for him. Ipagdasal natin siya dahil pinili siya ng tao. Ipagdasal natin na sana ang kanyang itataguyod ay iyung common good, iyung buhay at dignidad ng tao at tunay na kaunlaran para sa ating bayan," stressed Aniceto.
Despite the stance of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on the "attacks" of Duterte, Aniceto said that he stands by the CBCP on its quest for truth, justice and faith.
"The CBCP has always been critical collaboration. Kasi, kung talagang laban sa Panginoon, alam mo naman ang mga martyrs noong araw, basta truth is truth. We cannot pinpoint a particular incident on the incoming president but whatever the circumstances, kung ano ang hinihingi ng ating pananampalataya, kung ano ang hinihingi ng katarungan, katotohanan at tunay na ikauunlad ng bayan, doon nakasalalay ang stand ng Catholic Church," he furthered.
On Duterte's plan to re-impose the death penalty to rid the streets of crime and illegal drugs, Aniceto emphasized that the pro-life stand of the Catholic Church will not change.
"The stand of the Catholic Church on morality and justice, hindi mapapalitan iyan. Kailangan din ng bagong president na tingnan at sundin niya ang Constitution, the dignity of the human person at ang tunay na ikabubuti ng bansa. Huwag tayong aalis sa daan kung saan nakaugat ang dignidad ng tao, karapatan ng tao, kahulugan ng tao, mga biyaya ng Diyos na maski sino pang presidente ay dapat igalang," concluded Aniceto.--JTD