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Church calls on Catholics to ‘kneel before the poor’

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MANILA, Nov. 25, 2015— The Catholic hierarchy has renewed its call for the protection of the country’s most vulnerable, encouraging families to build their lives on humility and compassion.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president (Photo: CBCP News)

In a pastoral exhortation, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to “kneel down” before the poor families.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said kneeling down does not just mean seeking mercy for their sins but also a gesture of compassion “for our fellow wounded sinners.”

“We kneel down before the poor we have ignored,” Villegas said. “We kneel down in sorrow for our abuses against the weak and the vulnerable.”

“Kneeling disposes us to receive and share mercy. Kneeling humbly reminds us that we have fallen and in our fallen yet forgiven condition, we must show mercy to one another,” he added.

The prelate stressed the value of kneeling for renewal, a virtue of humility and mercy which the present generation have compromised with the “throw away consumerist culture.”

The bishops released the statement of Tuesday for the forthcoming year of renewal dedicated to mercy, the Eucharist and the family.

The pastoral exhortation also expressed concern for the Filipino family which the Church envisioned to be  “missionary disciples of the Eucharist” but is threatened from within and without.

“Let us kneel again at home for the family prayer and for feet washing,” said Archbishop Villegas. “The family that prays together stays together. The family that kneels together will be refreshed and renewed together.”

Echoing Pope Francis’ message during the recent World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, he called on Filipinos for an openness to miracles of love for the sake of families.

“…Where siblings wash one another’s feet and parents do the same; where the culture of family kneeling is present, the dream of renewal in family life will not be far from sight,” he said.

“The family that kneels together will remain young and fresh and new. Kneeling empowers families to stand up against the storms of life. Kneeling is strength,” the archbishop added.

The universal Church is set to observe an extraordinary Year of Mercy as decreed by Pope Francis from Dec. 8, 2015 until Nov. 20 2016.

In the Philippines, the local Church will open the Year of the Eucharist and the Family on Nov. 29 as part of the nine-year preparation for the Jubilee of 2021, the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the country. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)

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