The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) vows to continue to combat the proliferation of fake news in the country.
Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, the Bishop of Pasig and CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication, said that the 4th National Catholic Media Convention hosted by the Archdiocese of Davao is an opportunity to deepen the World Communication’s Day message of Pope Francis, “which is to combat fake news and to promote a journalism of peace.”
“Today, in social media, we see and hear a lot of fake news,” he said. “I think the basic message is to understand we can only promote a journalism of peace and become instruments of truth in whatever way we are if we hold on to Jesus who is the truth.”
Vergara also added that even in the past, prior to Bishop Valles taking over the presidency, the CBCP has been very proactive. The group came up with a list of dubious websites and released a pastoral guideline on the ethical use of social media.
The Catholic Church and President Duterte have been at loggerheads on several policies of his administration. The former mayor has branded the members of the clergy as hypocrites for failing to police priests who rape children or those who continue their ministry despite having fathered children out of wedlock.
On the note of Pope Francis on the death penalty, Vergara said, “The Church has been consistent with its stance. Whatever Pope Francis has said, he is just reiterating the teachings of the Church which is to value life.”
Vergara also added that in the move to revive the death penalty in the country, the CBCP will take the lead in lobbying in Congress to stop the bill. “Who knows? The legislators may also have a reflection and discernment about the matter,” said Vergara.
The Catholic Church has also been very vocal on its opposition on the current drug war of the present administration. In the wake of the statement of President Duterte in his last state of the nation address, Vergara explained that their message is very clear with regards to how human rights and human life should be equally valued.
“The right to life is basically seen as how the church’s teaching has been consistent. If life is sacred and it is a gift from God, so what do we do? We protect it, we take care of it. When we look at our own Constitution and Constitutions all over the world, there is all always that (measure) to protect the life of people,” Vergara added.
Representatives of the 80 dioceses around the country participated in the 4th National Catholic Media Convention. The convention started in Luzon last year and the second leg was in Cebu. This year, they thought of bringing it to Mindanao, particularly in Davao City, home of the CBCP president Abp. Romulo Valles.
The activity concludes Aug. 9.
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