Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao called on the faithful to be more patient and understanding over the restrictions imposed by the government on religious activities.
The prelate said the restrictions “may at first come across as impractical or without sense to us,” but he said “the way forward is to patiently ask and seek clarification.”
“It is good to remind ourselves that these guidelines are meant not only for the Catholic Church but for all men and women and communities of faith who practice different modes of worship and prayer,” he said.
Archbishop Valles is currently president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
On May 15, the government announced that it would allow religious gatherings of only up to ten people in areas under “general community quarantine.”
Religious gatherings remain prohibited in places under the “enhanced community quarantine.”
Some church leaders criticized the government guidelines, describing it as an “abuse of prudence” and “unreasonable.”
Archbishop Valles, however, said the Church should “try to take the lead in showing the spirit of patience, calmness, understanding, open communication, and cooperation.”
He said these virtues must be put in place as the Church continues “to patiently present our particular concerns to the proper authorities.”
On May 16, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on May 16 released a new set of “Recommendations and Guidelines for the Liturgical Celebration in ‘New Normal’ Condition.”
The guidelines aim to help bishops in making pastoral decisions and courses of action for their respective dioceses.
“We eagerly await the time in the ‘new normal’ condition when we will be allowed to celebrate our liturgy, especially the Holy Eucharist, with our faithful in attendance,” said Archbishop Valles.
He said the Holy Eucharist “is central and essential to the life of the Church and to the life of each individual believer.”