Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila reminded the faithful of their duty to be witnesses to the truth that human life is sacred in all areas of life–and not just when time and situation call for it. The cardinal made a surprise appearance early Saturday at the Quirino Grandstand, where thousands of Catholics participated in the “Walk for Life”. He said the faithful must always carry this witness by word and by example everyday of the week and “in all corners of society”.
“Let’s not stop walking for life. We should do it everyday,” said Tagle. “Nothing will happen if we will not walk for life everyday.”
The Manila archbishop also lamented the current spread of the “culture of violence” in the country, referring the spate of extrajudicial killings and moves in Congress to revive the death penalty. And an even greater cause for concern, he said, is the indifference of many to these violence.
“It’s sad to see, and sometimes tearful, that it’s becoming just a normal thing,” he said.
Echoing Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day of Peace, Cardinal Tagle called for a renewed culture of “active non-violence” in addressing the country’s challenges. He said that non-violence is not passive as Jesus was a tireless worker of love in action.
“Non-violence does not mean it is passive. Active. But we believe that we cannot stop violence also by violence,” said Tagle. “If the response to violence is also violence, we double the violence. We shouldn’t be doubling or propagating violence. We should match it with non-violence,” he added. “Strength, not violence.”
Organized by an organization of lay people, the Walk for Life was staged to demonstrate their opposition to summary killings and the death penalty. It was the first of its kind in recent years that various lay groups come together to pray, stand up, and defend the sanctity of life. Among the participants came from the Couples for Christ, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and El Shaddai, He added that the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, and the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association are also joining the early morning event.