Arguelles should listen to the authorities
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.