The Catholic Church has launched this Christmas a defiant stand against President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to reimpose the death penalty.
His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle released a “Prayer Against the Death Penalty” last Dec. 7 shortly after Congress passed the bill reimposing the death penalty at the committee level.
Priests have been instructed to say the prayer either before the Mass or after the post-communion prayer, or they could incorporate it at the Prayer of the Faithful of all Masses through the Christmas Season.
Here is Tagle’s prayer;
Leader: Father, source and giver of life, we lift our hearts and voices to you. Help us to build a society that truly chooses life in all situations.
Let our response be: Lord, heal our pain.
For those experiencing pain and anguish because of violence and crime, Lord, heal our pain.
For perpetrators and victims of atrocities who both struggle with anger and hatred, Lord, heal our pain.
For our broken world, enchained by the desire for revenge, Lord, heal our pain.
For our wounded society misled by the illusion that one must take life in order to defend it. Lord, heal our pain.
Leader: Let us say together: Help us to make peace.
For our country, tempted to accept violent revenge. Help us to make peace.
For the conviction to recognize and uphold the dignity of all people. Help us to make peace.
For the wisdom to see poverty, injustice and lack of educational and employment opportunities as likely causes of criminality, Help us to make peace.
For guidance and compassion in addressing the pain of both victims and perpetrators of wrong-doing, Help us to make peace.
For the fortitude to find solutions that protect the dignity of all people and bring about true reconciliation. Help us to make peace.
For the inspiration to renew society on the basis of love and restorative justice. Help us to make peace.
Leader: Let us pray Father of compassion, You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust. Give us a heart like yours so that we may love as You love, even those who have caused us pain. There is in our land a cry for vengeance and a move to fill up death rows and kill offenders but disguised as a call for justice. Let true and lasting justice spring forth.
Jesus, our brother, you suffered execution in the hands of the powerful but you did not let hatred overcome you. Help us to reach out to victims of violence so that our enduring love may help heal their wounds.
Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life You strengthen us in the struggle for justice. Help us to work tirelessly against state-sanctioned death and to renew society in truth, justice, love and respect so that violence will cease and peace may prevail. Amen.
O Mary, Mother of Life, protect the Filipino people from the forces of death. San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us. San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.
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