Cardinal Tagle issues ‘oratio imperata’ vs El Niño

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has issued an oratio imperata or obligatory prayer against the El Niño phenomenon, which causes drought and is hitting countries like the Philippines at a record high this year.

“Let us together storm the heavens with our supplications,” Tagle said in a letter that the Archdiocese of Manila sent to reporters on Friday, September 11.

In the letter dated September 4, Tagle said the Archdiocese of Manila should begin praying the oratio imperata on September 6. This should be prayed during Masses, he said. 

Such obligatory prayers can also be made outside of Masses.

In issuing the oratio imperata, Tagle pointed out that El Niño “means prolonged drought in about 46 provinces” in the Philippines. He said this is expected to damage farm lands and cause water shortages. 

In fact the National Water Resources Board has already warned around 355,500 households of Metro Manila about water interruptions because of the El Niño. 

The current El Niño, a global weather pattern known to wreak havoc every few years, is likely to become one of the strongest on record, forecasters said Thursday, September 10. 

Forgiveness 'for ecological sins'

Tagle said, “This impending situation brings us to the brink of helplessness, but not hopelessness, as we turn to God our Father, to turn His mercy on us and shorten the life of El Niño and bring down the rain to avert the crisis.”

“In praying to Him for His compassion and benevolence, we also seek His forgiveness for our ecological sins – our neglect and abuse of the environment, our ‘throw-away’ culture, and our failures as stewards of His creation,” the cardinal added.

Tagle earlier urged Filipinos to change their lifestyles, including the way they use water, and address “the human roots of the ecological disaster.” (READ: ‘People thirst while golf courses abound in water’

Below is the full text of the oratio imperata issued by the cardinal: 

God our loving Father, Maker of all Creation, look kindly on us, Your Children in this Earth that You have given us as our home, as we plead You to shorten the life of El Niño now threatening our country   with prolonged drought, extreme weather, and low water supply.

O merciful God forgive us our ecological sins that have contributed to this adverse phenomenon. Forgive our indifference to the groans and suffering of Mother Earth. Forgive us our wastefulness, our disregard for the value of the gifts of creation You have given us.

We promise to repent for our sins by following the Gospel of Creation, and by caring for and being mindful of your Creation in all that we do.

Give us the strength and wisdom to be good stewards of your creation and to protect the environment from abuse and exploitation.

At this time of impending crisis, move us, dear Lord, to share more, serve more, and love more.

Loving God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you entrusted the Filipino people to the special care of Mary our Mother. Listen to the prayers we bring up to you through her, and grant us our petitions,  through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. 


– with reports from Agence France-Presse/