Ar­guelles should lis­ten to the au­thor­i­ties

The Freeman - - Opinion -

Dur­ing one of his hom­i­lies, for­mer Lipa Arch­bishop Ra­mon Ar­guelles said that there is no need to wear face masks and prac­tice so­cial dis­tanc­ing even in this time of the pan­demic.

As far as Ar­guelles is con­cerned, for as long as peo­ple love God and keep their faith in Him, there is no need to be wor­ried about the coronaviru­s.

“Tayo din na­man ay ma­ma­matay. Pero hindi ka­matayan ‘ yan, ma­pupunta tayo sa walang hang­gan. Pero kung nag­tu­tu­lun­gan tayo, gu­ma­gawa nang mabuti, hindi na kailan­gan ng mask. Hindi na kailan­gan ng face shield, hindi na kailan­gan ng dis­tanc­ing. Bakit? Ma­hal tayo ng Diyos at ma­hal natin siya, at ma­hal natin ang isa’t isa. We will only do good,” Ar­guelles is quoted as say­ing dur­ing his homily last Wed­nes­day.

His mes­sage has al­ready at­tracted crit­i­cism, in­clud­ing ad­verse re­ac­tions from the Palace.

We ad­mire Ar­guelles for his faith, but in this case it seems his faith is mis­placed, no mat­ter how strong it is, and his state­ment is mis­lead­ing, no mat­ter good his orig­i­nal in­ten­tions are.

It is good to have faith, but we can­not just leave every­thing to God; we also have to ac­tively do our part to pre­vent this virus from spread­ing, in­clud­ing the things we have been taught like wear­ing a mask and keep­ing so­cial dis­tances.

And to have some­one say­ing that faith and love of God is the only thing we need to pro­tect our­selves from the virus is very mis­lead­ing. Many of our broth­ers and sis­ters caught the dis­ease even if they had supreme faith in God. Are we to tell them their faith was not strong enough, hence they got in­fected?

What makes this mat­ter more ur­gent is that Ar­guelles passes on --al­though we are sure that it isn’t his in­ten­tion of do­ing so-- the idea that peo­ple should ig­nore what safety pro­to­cols the au­thor­i­ties have been teach­ing us.

The fact that he hap­pens to be a per­son of in­flu­ence doesn’t help the sit­u­a­tion one bit.

We are sure Ar­guelles meant no ill when he said those things, in fact we are sure he was try­ing to lift sag­ging spir­its. But in this par­tic­u­lar point in time --this time of a global pan­demic-such mis­in­for­ma­tion can lead to very deadly con­se­quences.

In mat­ters of faith Ar­guelles should lis­ten to God, the same way that oth­ers should also lis­ten to him on such is­sues. But in mat­ters con­cern­ing health and public safety, the es­teemed for­mer arch­bishop is bet­ter off lis­ten­ing to the au­thor­i­ties.

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