MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) , has issued a “pastoral guidance” prohibiting priests from receiving or blessing religious images made of ivory and any material derived from protected and endangered species.
However, he said that those statues and images of ivory already in use prior to the issuance of the pastoral guidance, should be safeguarded, and may remain in use for purposes of devotion and in recognition of their historical value.
“The Catholic Church must do its part. No matter the beauty of a work of art, it cannot justify the slaughter of wildlife, the use of endangered organic forms and the lending of a seal of approval to the threat posed to biodiversity by poachers and traffickers,” Villegas said.
Citing Pope Francis’ acclaimed encyclical on the environment, Villegas said: “Every instance of beauty is a reflection of the infinite beauty of the Creator. We cannot, without offending the Creator, deface his creation.”
Asked by reporters why the pastoral guidance did not include wooden crosses which are mostly derived from trees, the uprooting and cutting of which cause deforestation, which ultimately harms both animal and human species, as well as the environment, Villegas simply said, “next question, please!”
Talk about opening a Pandora’s box!