Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi has expressed his dismay after religious images at the entrance of the Padre Pio Parish Church in Legazpi City were destroyed and vandalized on February 21.
According to the bishop, such “irresponsible acts” could have been done by people “who were not in their right mind.” (Read: Typhoon Rolly Wrecks Albay Churches, Bishop Asks For Help)
“I’m really saddened by this unfortunate incident,” Baylon said. “I pray that such acts of vandalism won’t happen again.”
As of writing, the individuals responsible for the incident remain unidentified.
Churches Destroyed, Desecrated
The incident in Legazpi City is not the first time that religious images in the Philippines were mocked and destroyed this year. (Read: Catholics Place Statue of Mary on War-Damaged Church in Iraq)
On February 17, Ash Wednesday, two chapels in the southern island of Basilan were also desecrated by unknown assailants. Parishioners at San Isidro Labrador in Sta. Clara Parish and Immaculate Conception in St. Peter Parish were left in shock after they came upon their churches desecrated and religious images destroyed.
Bishop Leo Dalmao of Isabela, however, urged the faithful not to let the incidents sow more hatred and division among the people. (Read: Bishops in Myanmar Urge Military to End Violence, Start Dialogue)
“I remind everyone to be vigilant and refuse any opportunity for these bad elements to succeed in sowing division and hatred among us,” he said.
“We will not allow ourselves to be dictated by the agenda of these people and we don’t want to dignify their actions by giving them and their actions undue attention and publicity,” Dalmao added.