Papal Nuncio says Church in Philippines to stay engaged in country’s affairs

.- The new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Fernando Feloni, said this week the Catholic Church in that country would stay engaged in the issues that are affecting the country, such as the death penalty and birth control.

“That is our responsibility.  It is an essential part of the Church,” the archbishop said during a press conference at the Malcañang Palace in Manila, where he presented is diplomatic credentials to President Gloria Arroyo.

“It is our mission to encourage the bishops to continue in their work of addressing the social problems of the people, especially the poor,” he said, reiterating his commitment to respect the opinions of the Philippine bishops, who he said he hoped would continue working with the government. “Only through dialogue can we achieve what is best” for the people, Archbishop Feloni said.

Michael Defensor, a top official in the Aroyo administration, said the government “is in harmony with the teachings of Catholicism” and that during their meeting, Arroyo and the new nuncio did not discuss controversial matters.

President Aroyo calls herself a devout Catholic but she has not publicly condemned the use of contraceptives, although she has granted clemency to all inmates on death row and commuted their sentences of life in prison. She has said her administration will not impose the death penalty.


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