The Mad Priest put me on to the notice of the murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Philippine Independent Church, under the heading “The Price of Love.”
That his death is thought to be tied to military operatives, and that his murder follows on 51 political killings this year, and one of over 700 such deaths since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's came to power, only highlights the seriousness of the situation in the Philippines. Whether or not his was a political killing, the number of such deaths is terrible.
I met Bishop Ramento on several occasions, the first shortly before he became the Obispo Maximo of the Philippine Independent Church. He was a fine person with a gentle wit. We should all grieve this loss with the PIC, the church he served so well, and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines who also benefited from his ministry.
The PIC and the ECP have been partners in a wide variety of peace and human rights efforts in the Philippines. These churches have an intertwined history and have a concordat, share a seminary and work together when possible. The PIC has a concordat with the Episcopal Church, signed in the midst of all the hubbub at General Convention. The Episcopal Church and the ECP have a covenant concerning cooperation following the ECP’s formation as a separate Province.
Little gets said about what the bonds of affection are really about: they are about sharing glad tidings and great sadness, hopes for peace and solidarity with the poor, who whom (Word has it) God has a preference. And the bonds of affection are always on some level personal and connective.
I am closer to the Mad Priest because he brings such costly discipleship to our attention, closer to Bishop Ramento for remembering him in death, and closer to the PIC and ECP because the news of the Bishop’s death recalls for me the great courage and faith of good friends in the Philippines.
May he rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine on him,
And may we make no peace with oppression.