While murder in itself is reprehensible, a prelate prays for the conversion of the murderers of Fr. Mark Ventura, a clergy of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao who was shot on Sunday after celebrating Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan.
“While we strongly condemn this heinous act done to a brother-priest at such a young age in ministry (think of the many people he could have still served and touched through his priestly life and ministry but are now deprived of it because of his brutal murder!) we plead for God’s mercy and grace of conversion for the perpetrators of Fr. Mark’s untimely death!,” said San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza in a recent Facebook post.
He also stressed the specially serious offense of killing not just any ordinary person but a priest.
“It is already grave to deliberately kill a human person! How doubly grave it is to kill a cleric or consecrated person!
The context or circumstances as well as the motive(s) for such crime would even make the sacrilegious act of murdering Fr. Mark even more grievous!,” said the chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Seminaries.
Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Alminaza noted that the deliberate ending of a person’s life is “gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator.”
The prelate also extended his “fraternal solidarity” to Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg and his clergy, specially to the slain priest’s family.
“We join them in earnest prayer for the eternal repose of Fr. Mark and for the swift investigation and resolution of his brutal killing. We appeal to the conscience of all responsible for this unconscionable evil act!,” he said.
While the motive behind his murder has yet to be identified, Ventura was known to be actively involved in anti-mining advocacy work, leading some to draw the connection.