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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Philippines – Church leaders oppose pistol-packing priests

Church leaders in the Philippines criticised a proposal to arm priests as a protective measure in the wake of recent attacks on clergy members.

Calls have come from several quarters for priests to take advantage of a 2014 law allowing journalists, priests, lawyers, doctors, nurses, accountants and engineers to carry firearms outside their homes.

The calls come after three recent shooting incidents involving priests.

In the most recent case on 6th June, Fr Rey Urmeneta, 64, who serves at a parish in Calamba City about 25 miles north of Manila, survived a gun attack by two assailants.

He was the third priest to have been shot since December.

In April, Fr Mark Ventura from Gattaran in the northern Philippines died after being shot by a lone gunman shortly after celebrating Sunday Mass and in December Fr Marcelito Paez was shot dead in Jaen, about 75 miles north of Manila.

Picture: Handguns are seen in this 2013 file photo. (CNS photo/Gary Cameron, Reuters).