MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged parishes in the Archdiocese of Manila to hold activities to remember the EDSA People Power Revolution of February 22 to 25, 1986.
The news service of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) described this as an "unprecedented move."
"As we join the whole Church in the Philippines in celebrating the Year of the Parish, I invite all parishes to a simple commemoration of EDSA People Power," Tagle said in a circular addressed to the priests of the Archdiocese of Manila on Thursday, February 23.
He requested priests to organize in their parishes "public prayer events," such as processions, rosary rallies, and prayer worships. He also asked them to "incorporate the examination of personal and communal consciences, formation of conscience and repentance."
The Archdiocese of Manila is made up of the cities of Manila, Makati, Pasay, San Juan, and Mandaluyong.
Tagle made this call as the Duterte administration chose to hold a low-key celebration of People Power this year. (READ: Duterte on EDSA anniversary: No group has monopoly of patriotism)
Duterte is an ally of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the dictator overthrown by the 1986 revolt.
While the Palace prefers a "simple" EDSA anniversary, groups sympathetic to the Marcoses have also urged the public to "move on" from People Power. Critics have framed the revolution as merely a fight between the Aquinos and the Marcoses. (READ: Bongbong Marcos on EDSA revolt: It was politics)
Tagle, however, reminded his flock: "In full view of the world the Filipino people showed the power of prayer that begets courage that begets solidarity that begets change. Thirty one years later we thank God for the gift of faith, as we also ask pardon for our personal and communal failure in consistently living that faith in justice, love, and peace," the cardinal said.
Like Tagle, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas issued a statement on People Power in the form of an open letter to his mentor, the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.
In his open letter to Sin, Villegas contrasted the "4 days of bloodless revolution" with the "8 months of relentless killings of the poor in the name of 'change.'" He told his mentor, "It is a nightmare, Your Eminence. It is a shame." – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.