Top Catholic seminary condemns killing of Fr Richmond Nilo

MANILA, Philippines – Leading Catholic seminary San Carlos condemned the killing of Father Richmond Nilo, its alumnus, as it sought justice for the 3rd priest slain in the Philippines in less than 7 months.

San Carlos was the seminary both of Nilo and Father Marcelito Paez, two of the 3 priests slain in the Philippines since December 2017.

"Kaming mga seminarista sa Kagawaran ng Teolohiya ng San Carlos Seminary ay nakikiisa sa sambayanang Kristiyano sa pagkondena sa karahasan at tahasang paglapastangan sa buhay na lumalaganap sa ating bayan," San Carlos seminarians said in a statement on Monday, June 11.

(We seminarians of the Department of Theology of San Carlos Seminary are uniting ourselves with the Christian community in condemning the violence and brazen disrespect of life spreading in our nation.) 

"Bilang mga nagpapari, lalo lamang itong nagpapaalab sa aming pagnanais na sumunod kay Kristo at matapang na manindigan, magpahayag, at magsabuhay ng Mabuting Balita kahit pa ito ay mangahulugan ng maraming pag-uusig," they added.

(As people training to be priests, this only fuels our desire to follow Christ and to courageously stand up, speak out, and live the Good News even if this means countless persecutions.)

The seminarians of San Carlos, called Karlistas, also urged authorities to do all that they can to seek justice for these senseless murders.

Nilo, 43, was shot by unidentified killers inside a chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, as he was preparing to say Mass last Sunday, June 10. 

Paez, 72, was shot by motorcycle-riding suspects as he was driving in Jaen, Nueva Ecija, on December 4, 2017, after he helped release a political prisoner.   

Another priest killed in recent months was 37-year-old Father Mark Ventura, who was shot dead after saying Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan. 

'Walang Karlistang duwag'

To mourn the deaths of its graduates Nilo and Paez, and other priests who offered their lives for the Philippines, San Carlos Seminary used a black profile photo on Facebook, with the seminary's logo. The seminary's alumni also turned their profile photos black.

A post on the seminary's Facebook page used the hashtag #JusticeforFrRichmond.

Going viral among the seminary's graduates, too, is the hashtag #WalangKarlistangDuwag.

San Carlos Seminary, which is more than 300 years old, was the first diocesan seminary in the Philippines. It is located along EDSA in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City.

San Carlos Seminary has produced giants in the Catholic Church, such as the late Manila archbishop Rufino Cardinal Santos, the late Cebu archbishop emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Villegas and other leaders of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan recently joined the chorus of condemnation against Nilo's death, as well as President Rodrigo Duterte's "verbal persecution" of the Catholic Church. 

Another leading seminary in the Philippines, the Jesuit-run San Jose, earlier criticized the "merciless and senseless" killings in the Philippines, as Duterte pursues his anti-drug campaign. 

The Catholic Church is one of the strongest voices against the killings under Duterte's watch. It is also one of the most reviled by Duterte, who has called it "full of shit."

Malacañang on Wednesday condemned the killings of priests, but stayed silent on calls for the President to tone down verbal insults against the Church that may embolden more attacks. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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 pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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