Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

God will provide strength through persecution, new Filipino bishop says

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

5/10/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (

A new bishop in the Philippines has called for Catholics to show courage in the face of violence and persecution.


Catholic Online (
5/10/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: God, provide strength, Filipino bishop

Dagupan, Philippines, (CNA) - Speaking at his own consecration, Bishop Fidelis Layog addressed the difficult circumstances facing the Church in the country, but called them an opportunity to witness to the strength of God and his Church.

Pope Francis appointed Layog to serve as auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan last month. He was consecrated on April 8, at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City.

"This is the time for us to show how strong we are in faith and how strong the foundation of our Church is," the new bishop said, according to the Manilla Bulletin.

"Let us not fear knowing that we are never alone. God is with us. God will prevail."

Thousands of people attended the liturgy, led by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who leads the archdiocese where Layog will serve as auxiliary bishop and chair the Commission on Bible Apostolate.

According to social media posts from St. John Evangelist Cathedral, Villegas said the event was a witness to hope and faith at a time "when bishops are bashed, threatened, and cursed."

"Who would want to be a bishop these days?" the archbishop asked the assembly.

"Yet, [Layog] is called by God, set aside to be a bishop by the successor of Peter himself, and today we make an act of faith that the powers of hell cannot prevail against the Church."  

Layog's consecration comes amid a series of violent threats, attacks, and killings of clergy in the Philippines. The willingness of some priests and bishops to speak out against  human rights abuses in the country has set them at odds with both organized crime and President Rodrigo Duterte, whose controversial policies in the war on drugs have been accused of leading to thousands of extrajudicial killings.

Three priests were shot and killed by gunmen in 2018. Father Mark Ventura, Father Marcelito Paez, and Father Richmond Nilo were killed at different times throughout the year.

In the last few months, Archbishop Villegas and Bishop Pablo David of Kalookan have both received death threats. Authorities have offered both bishops protection, which they have so far declined.

"Being threatened and attacked has always been the experience of the Catholic Church from the very beginning. The Church has faced persecution in the past and even up to this time," said Layog.

Persecution of the kind facing the Church in the Philippines has tested and will continue to test the foundations of the Church, the new bishop said, while calling it an opportunity that must be embraced, and which leads to a greater relationship with God.

"We must accept and face these challenges because it builds a stronger Church and a deeper faith," he said.

"It leads us to a deeper relationship with God, a deeper prayer life where we find ourselves praying more and asking for God's help in the face of many social ills and challenges."


More Asia Pacific

Catholic snakebite clinic in India saves thousands of lives each year Watch

Image of Sr. Philomena Guria RNDM treating a snake bite patient

In most religious orders' novitiate year, prospective sisters study and pray. Sister Crescencia Sun, however, had another habit to acquire: ... continue reading

Anything that threatens Communism is a target, Chinese human rights advocate says Watch

Image of

A Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner has called for renewed focus on the country's practices of mass detention, ... continue reading

Macau diocese angered by government light show on church ruins Watch

Image of Ruins of St. Pauls

A diocese in southern China expressed disappointment Wednesday regarding a patriotic light-show that had been projected on the remains of a ... continue reading

Burmese cardinal laments religious leaders' silence over violence Watch

Image of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has decried Burma's ongoing violence, and encouraged religious leaders to raise their voices in defense ... continue reading

China marks 70 years of communism and human rights abuses Watch

Image of China

On Tuesday, the People's Republic of China marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country's communist regime. While some world ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.