DAGUPAN CITY – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued on Monday a new “Oratio Imperata” or obligatory prayer in a bid to ease political tension in the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, re-elected CBCP president, said the Catholic faithful must offer prayers to soothe increasingly strained relations between the Philippines and China.
“We do not have the means to negotiate with superpowers, we cannot represent the Philippines in the international court, but we can certainly represent the Philippines before God and ask God, who is the sure source of peace, to take care of the Philippines,” Villegas said.
“If the dispute escalates and it becomes a problem of peace, how can the Church not be involved? Peace is the mission of the Church,” he added.
The Oratio Imperata in Time of Grave Danger reads:
O Lord our God, Maker of heaven and earth, the sky and the seas, look kindly on us, Your children of the Philippine islands, our home, now beset with tensions over our West Philippine Sea.
We pray to you for peace over that part of our islands and waters.
We pray that questions over it may be resolved through justice and respect for people’s rights.
We pray that no harm may be done to our marine creatures and habitat.
We pray that our fellow Filipinos, protecting our islands and seas, be kept safe from natural and manmade disasters.
Loving God, You are our wonderful Creator, our generous provider of good things. Send Your Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding to our leaders, that they may resolve this crisis with courage and in the spirit of dialogue. Help us all to remain faithful to Your Word and obedient to Your will always.
This we ask through Christ, Our Lord.
Meanwhile, Malacañang thanked the CBCP for issuing the Oratio Imperata in Time of Grave Danger.
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said, “We thank our Bishops for calling upon the prayers of the faithful for the protection of the Philippines and a peaceful resolution of maritime entitlement issues in the West Philippine Sea.” (AMM/PIA-1, Pangasinan with reports from CBCP)