Home Diocesan Reports Basilan prelate won’t allow desecration of chapels to derail peace efforts

Basilan prelate won’t allow desecration of chapels to derail peace efforts

Bishop Leo Dalmao of Isabela prelature said the recent attacks will in no way distract their works to promote inter-religious dialogue

The Catholic bishop of Basilan condemned the desecration of at least two chapels in the southern Philippine island of Basilan but said it should not derail peace-building efforts in the area.

Bishop Leo Dalmao of Isabela prelature said the recent attacks will in no way distract their works to promote inter-religious dialogue.

“I remind everyone to be vigilant and refuse any opportunity for these bad elements to succeed in sowing division and hatred among us,” said Bishop Dalmao in a statement.



“We will not allow ourselves to be dictated by the agenda of these people and we don’t want to dignify their actions by giving them and their actions undue attention and publicity,” he said.

Religious statues in two chapels in Lamitan City were found destroyed by unknown assailants on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics.

On February 16, an attempted theft of religious icons in another chapel in the city was foiled by some residents.

Bishop Dalmao asked the faithful to pray intensely that their efforts of a peaceful and progressive province will be sustained in spite of the recent incidents.

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“We may fix our gaze on what brings us together as a province — Christians, Muslims, indigenous peoples — rather than on what divides us,” he said.

“Take care of our places of worship and watch over them. Take care of one another as one community of God,” Bishop Dalmao added.

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