- Jan 17, 2020
Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon was appointed by Pope Francis on Oct. 19 to lead the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago, historically a Catholic stronghold in the Caribbean. Gordon’s spiritual roots are in the charismatic movement, specifically a local group born in 1975 called the Living Water Community. He wants to use the Gospel to challenge a “lethal cocktail” of corruption and crime in the region, calling people to give their hearts to Jesus Christ as the foundation for their own lives and the broader society.
Increased control of the U.S.-Mexican border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez started in the 1990s to fight the international drug trade, and 9/11 marked a turning point in its militarization. In 2008, corrugated metal fencing was built and cut the binational city in two. Workers lost jobs, and families lost family members. El Paso’s sister city sank into poverty and drug-fueled violence.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas – outgoing president of the Philippines bishops’ conference – said clergy, politicians and security forces need to repent for complacency, ambition for power and instilling fear rather than respect. Rights groups and local media have reported 7,000-12,000 deaths as a result of police operations and unexplained killings in the 17 months since President Rodrigo Duterte took office after running on a platform to rid the country of criminals.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines says it is not trying to destabilize the government by offering sanctuary to security officers wishing to testify about abuses in the country’s violent anti-drug crackdown. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, the bishops’ conference president, earlier announced that police officers wanting to reveal information about the drug war have sought church protection.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan in the Philippines has called on clergy and religious “to open their hearts and their rectories, the convents of religious communities and seminaries as well as other secure buildings” to house and protect those members of the security forces who wish to speak publicly about the abuses they have seen.
President Rodrigo Duterte warned he will use force or expand nationwide his declaration of martial law in the country’s south if the anti-government protesters threatened public order. In May, he placed the southern third of the largely Catholic nation under martial law to deal with a siege by pro-Islamic State group militants in southern Marawi city that has dragged on for nearly four months.