Church is not at war with gov’t— Bishop Bastes

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Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes during an interview of BicolToday.com
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes in an exclusive interview of BicolToday.com

SORSOGON CITY (Oct. 28, 2011) — “The church is not quarrelling with the government but it’s just doing its role of reminding what is right and is what is wrong.”

So went the homily of Bishop Arturo Bastes during the 117th foundation anniversary of the province which focused on the role of the government and the church in guiding its people.

Bastes said the government has the primary role of guiding its constituents towards what is good and beneficial to them but if the government strays and its actions are no longer good for its people, the Church has the role to remind the government, like in the issues of the RH bill and mining.

The bishop commended Gov. Raul Lee for his anti-RH stand which he said was an action towards the right direction saying the proposed bill would be harmful to the people.

Lee had earlier declared his stand against the RH bill which he described as being against his religious belief as a catholic and violative of the constitution which categorically declares the “protection of the unborn.”

However, Bastes urged those who support the anti-RH campaign, being pro-life, to also support anti-mining crusade as both threaten human life.

The prelate explained that the involvement of the church in these issues does not necessarily mean that it is against the government but is merely performing its role as spiritual guide of the people and to remind the government that its actions are wrong.

“The church must remind the government of its role to protect and uphold life and the environment,” he stressed, adding: “The government needs to be reminded many times.”

In an interview after the mass, Bastes confirmed that they are supporting the proposed HB 4315 or the People’s Mining Bill which was presented to the recent Ecumenical Bishops Forum meeting by Rep. Teddy Casino of the party-list group Bayan Muna.

He said they find the bill acceptable in lieu of the existing Mining Act of 1995 which is full of loopholes thus susceptible to abuse and is cause of corruption.

He also expressed strong support to the anti-mining protesters who have set up barricades at barangay Balocawe which he visited last week.

The bishop told the protesters that opposing something that is illegal and detrimental to human lives must be encouraged especially if the government is doing nothing to stop it or even encourages its continuance. (Bobby Labalan)

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