MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Church groups in the Philippines have launched a support network for Sister Patricia Fox, an Australian missionary nun who has been ordered to leave the country by the government.
Ucanews.com reported the group, Solidarity With the Poor Network, aims to unite faith-based organizations to protest the Philippine government’s decision to expel the regional superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion over alleged involvement in “illegal political activities.”
Carmelite Father Rico Ponce said the network was “an affirmation of the rightness” of Sister Fox’s missionary work for the poor. The priest appealed to the public to support the nun and defend her “freedom to exercise Christian convictions, obligations, and duties to the Filipino people.”
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said Catholics need to not be silent over events that affect the lives of the poor.
“Everything is interconnected,” he said.
The social action arm of the country’s Catholic bishops also issued a statement to “stand in solidarity not only with Sister Fox, but with the human rights community as a whole.”
“We will not be intimidated by the suppressive measures of the government to curb freedom of expression and to harass the church,” said Father Edwin Gariguez, head of Caritas Philippines.
Earlier, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Philippine bishops’ conference, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to revoke the expulsion order on Sister Fox.
“Let the nun continue serving Filipinos,” said the prelate.
On April 16, the Philippines’ immigration bureau arrested and detained Sister Fox; she was released on April 17 pending further investigation.
On April 25, the immigration bureau revoked Sister Fox’s missionary visa and ordered her to leave the country within 30 days.
In a statement, the nun’s newly formed support network said the cancellation of the missionary visa violates Sister Fox’s “right to due process.”
“It is an apparent legal harassment against a religious person who seeks to give flesh and blood to the church mission for the least, the last and the lost,” read the group’s statement.
Benedictine Sister Mary John Mananzan said the list of alleged violations committed by Sister Fox “is not a list of sins but rather a list of achievements.”
“A prophet must stand up, speak out,” said Sister Mananzan, who is known for being a vocal advocate for human rights.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103