The Philippines Catholic bishops have condemned the shooting of a priest as he was about to celebrate Mass on Sunday, the second killing of a priest in that country within a week. Source: UCA News.
Father Richmond Villaflor Nilo of Cabanatuan Diocese was gunned down inside the Nuestra Senora dela Nieve chapel in Zaragoza town in the northern province of Nueva Ecija.
Police said the priest was shot while he was putting on his alb to start the Mass. At least three shots were fired through the chapel's window.
Father Nilo became the fourth Catholic priest to be shot in the Philippines in the last six months and the second within a week.
"No priest, and no human being for that matter, deserves to be killed with utter brutality, disrespect and impunity," said Bishop Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan in a statement.
“To kill a priest for whatever motive or cause, is not only unchristian and inhuman, it is also un-Filipino.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms and deeply mourn the brutal murder ... and the escalating violence and culture of impunity … even against helpless clergymen.”
He called on Catholics to pray for the soul of Father Nilo and "for peace, healing and security of our communities," and for the clergy and religious especially in Cabanatuan and demanded a "thorough and impartial investigation and a swift resolution".
The country's Catholic bishops expressed alarm at the number of priest killed in recent months.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the bishops' conference, said he was "deeply sad and bothered" by the attacks on members of the clergy.
"I would really appeal, really appeal to our authorities especially the police to do their best to investigate and bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice," he said.
He said proper investigations could be "the very least among the things that we can do."
"We can do a number of things but ... it is very important to restore our confidence that justice will be done.”
Another priest slaying rocks Philippine Church (ucanews.com)
Priest fatally shot at altar of Philippine Catholic church (Washington Post)
Philippine priest killed while preparing for Mass (National Catholic Reporter)