The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has urged fellow bishops to cooperate with the government on guidelines for religious activities amid quarantine measures implemented nationwide.

In a circular, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said bishops should seek clarification from authorities as regards restrictions on religious gatherings, and called for patience and calm.

“During these days, we may hear of some guidelines from the government and health authorities regarding our conduct of worship. They may at first come across as impractical or without sense to us. In this scenario, I believe that the way forward is to patiently ask and seek clarification from the source of these guidelines,” Valles said in a May 18 circular.

“It is good to remind ourselves that these guidelines are meant not only for the Catholic Church but for all men and women and communities of faith who practice different modes of worship and prayer,” he added.

Valles’ circular came after Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo criticized the government’s latest quarantine regulations, which limit the number of attendees to five during the modified enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) prevailing over Metro Manila, Laguna and several provinces in Central Luzon, and 10 during the general community quarantine in the rest of the country.

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Download the latest quarantine guidelines here.

Valles said bishops should “try to take the lead in showing the spirit of patience, calmness, understanding, open communication and cooperation in these very trying times as we continue to patiently present our particular concerns to the proper authorities.”

The Davao bishop urged bishops to be guided by Pope Francis’ words in an April 28 homily: “At this time, when indications have been given to start coming out of quarantine, we pray that the Lord will grant to His people, to all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to these indications, so that the pandemic will not return.”

“We eagerly await the time in the ‘New Normal’ condition when we will be allowed to celebrate our liturgy, especially the Holy Eucharist, with our faithful in attendance,” Valles said. (