Manila, July 14, 2015 – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Monday issued an obligatory prayer in a bid to ease political tension in the West Philippine Sea.
While the Philippines has its own plan to resolve the territorial dispute with China, re-elected CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the faithful must offer prayers to soothe increasingly strained relations between the countries.
“We do not have the means to negotiate with superpowers, we cannot represent the Philippines in the international court, but we can certainly represent the Philippines before God and ask God, who is the sure source of peace, to take care of the Philippines, he said.
Prayers that reach God.
Villegas made, the statement during a press conference after bishops’ plenary assembly at the Pius XII Center in Manila on Monday.
“If the dispute escalates and it becomes a problem of peace, how can the Church not be involved? Peace is the mission of the Church,” said Villegas.
The United Nations arbitral tribunal has begun the arbitration court proceedings on the territorial dispute at the Hague last week.
“Not all of us can go to the Hague, not all of us can patrol the West Philippine Sea, but all of us can kneel and pray for our prayers reach God and benefit people,” Villegas added in Filipino.
After the news conference, Villegas led other CBCP officials in praying the oratio imperata which reads:
O Lord our God, Maker of heaven and earth, the sky and the seas, look kindly on us, Your children of the Philippine islands, our home, now beset with tension over our West Philippine Sea.
We pray to you for peace over that part of our islands and waters.
We pray that questions over it may be resolved through justice and respect for people’s rights.
We pray that nor harm may be done to our marine creatures and habitat.
We pray that our fellow Filipinos, protecting our islands and seas, be kept safe from natural and manmade disasters.
Loving God, you are our Wonderful Creator, our generous provider of good things. Send Your Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding to our leaders, that they may resolve this crisis with courage and in the spirit of dialogue. Help us all to remain faithful to Your Word and obedient to Your will always.
This we ask through Christ, our Lord. Amen
In the Diocese of Marbel this Oratio Imperata must be prayed in every mass before the Post Communion Prayer from 19 July 2015 to 30 August 2015, inclusive.