A Catholic archbishop called on the faithful to be “discerning and critical” of the people they listen to and choose to follow.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan cautioned that some voices may be that of the “serpent trying to deceive you, to mislead you, to lead you away from God”.
“I request you, if I have to plead with you on bended knees, be careful with the voices that you hear, be discerning with the voices that you listen to,” Villegas said.
“Be discerning, be critical with the voices you choose to follow because some of them can fake the voice of the mother, some of them can fake the voice of the Son,” he said.
The archbishop made the statement in his homily during Mass for the enthronement and blessing of a replica of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Manaoag image at the Dagupan Cathedral on Wednesday, Aug. 3.
The former president of the bishops’ conference went on to warn the faithful that not all voices that call people to unity are godly.
According to him, “that voice is the serpent’s voice” when people are told to come together to steal money, to kill the sinners, and to blaspheme God.
The enthronement rite was the archdiocese’s “act of gratitude” that the original image stayed in the cathedral for 25 days, from June 27 to July 22, in 1898.
The cathedral safeguarded the image against threats from the Filipino revolutionaries against the Spanish colonial rule in the country.
The image’s history dates back to the 17th century when Dominican missionaries brought the image to the Philippines.
After the surrender of Dagupan on July 22 that year, the Catholics of Manaoag claimed the image of Our Lady and brought it back to their town.
The church leader also said that true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary can be shown by way of life.
“What’s the use of offering flowers, lighting candles, kneeling down before the image of Our Lady who calls us if you choose blasphemers, if you choose thieves, if you choose murderers, if you choose cursers God as leaders?” Villegas added.
“The Virgin of Manaoag may be happy with the throne we have built for her, but the Virgin of Manaoag would be happier if you allow her to be enthroned in your hearts,” he also said.