The call to restore the status of St. John's Institute in Bacolod City as a Catholic school has been elevated to the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines.
Fr. Joel Tabora, president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, elevatedthe CEAP appeal to the ECCCE chair, Bishop Roberto Mallari.
The CBCP is set to meet in Cebu in two weeks.
In May last year, Buzon announced that the SJI was no longer recognized as a Catholic school, after he issued a decree that its Queen of Peace Parish Church was no longer a place of worship.
The decree, which led to the stripping of SJI's status as a Catholic school, was issued after an impasse was reached on the SJI Board's call for the Queen of Peace Church to be deparished and reverted back to a chapel.
“Punitive action against the Board because it had legitimately decided not to host a territorial parish was not warranted. Most Catholic schools operate without hosting a pastoral parish,” Tabora said in his letter to Mallari dated Jan. 7, 2018.
“The withdrawal of the public recognition of the catholicity ofHuaMing (SJI) and the formally decreed relegation of its church to a secular structure, however temporary is abusive. There has been no clear crime committed. There are no clear warrants for his punitive action,” headded.
With no clear crime, punitive action is itself a crime, he said.
“It is abusive of episcopal power and unjust….It brings division, confusion, demoralization and undermines the identification of those affected with the Catholic Christian Community. It weakens their Christian life and kills their joy in the Gospel,” Tabora said.
Tabora asked the ECCCE chair to intervene with Buzon in favor of SJI and its Catholic educational mission in the context of the Filipino-Chinese apostolate “as justice and charity require”.
”I ask you to urge Bishop Buzon to immediately restore public recognition of the catholicity of SJI, and to immediately restore the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Eucharist, of Penance and of Confirmation to the Queen of Peace church as the legitimate chapel of a Catholic School,” Taboratold the ECCCE.
He also called on the ECCCE to convince the bishop of the catholicity of SJI and the willingness of its board to partner with him in the service of the Filipino Chinese Community.
Should this not bring relief to SJI, he asked ECCCE to join him in raising this concern to the Pope through the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education.
Tabora furnished copies of his letter to MallaritoBuzon, Bishop Romulo Valles - CBCP president, Bishop LeopoldoJuancian – Filipino Chinese Apostolate, and Alfredo Barcelona – SJI Board of Trustees chair.
The bishop, when asked for his reaction on the call to restore the status of SJI as a Catholic School on Tuesday, said “Our position is consistent and clear, it's as simple as that and I don't like to bring the circus back to town, the current status of SJI will remain.”*CPG
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