When our values are violated
We, the priests, religious, and laity of Gomburza, affirm the leadership of our bishops and express our gratitude to their guidance on the moral and social issues confronting our nation.
In 1991, at the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II), bishops and representatives of our clergy, religious, and laity vowed to uphold the Church’s social teaching in our life as a nation. PCP-II articulated eight principles of this teaching: people empowerment, integral development based on human dignity and solidarity, a love of preference for the poor, social justice, the universal destination of goods, the value of human work, integrity of creation, and peace and active nonviolence.
We are deeply saddened by events which violate these values.
People empowerment becomes a mockery when government railroads policies that disregard people’s wellbeing, suspends or threatens to repress electoral processes, and seeks to confuse people by lying and suppressing independent media.
Integral development based on human dignity and solidarity becomes meaningless when government renders human rights a hindrance to law and order, and justifies killing thousands for the sake of “progress.”
The love of preference for the poor becomes a farce when government imposes policies that make basic needs even more unaffordable for the poorest, and wages war against them in the guise of its “war on drugs.”
The universal destination of goods becomes unattainable when government allows foreign interests to exploit our natural resources under cover of an “independent foreign policy” that exchanges old masters for new ones, and when officials and legislators make laws to increase their own wealth and influence.
Social justice is sabotaged when, instead of using laws and the judiciary to redress wrongs and inequality, selective judicial processes and arbitrary interpretations of law are used to empower the administration’s allies, stifle dissent, and undermine democracy.
The value of human work is diminished when economic policies reduce the purchasing power of hard-earned salaries, and when promises to end contractualization remain unfulfilled.
The integrity of creation is imperiled by the failure to end open-pit mining, logging, dirty energy, and environmentally destructive waste management because of the vested interests of the administration and its supporters, and because of government officials who prioritize personal gain over human, community, national, and ecological wellbeing.
Peace and active nonviolence are devalued when government promotes violence and war and needlessly prolongs martial law.
We Catholics must stand for our social principles when our moral foundations as a people are threatened. We must make our people aware of the critical issues confronting the nation, and become counterexamples against the unethical behavior that is becoming “normal” for our society. This is our universal call as disciples of Christ.
We ask our bishops to accompany us as we seek to follow Christ by confronting these challenges in the light of His truth. We, too, are with them as they discern the signs of the times. We pray that the Holy Spirit will give them the clarity to see what Christ’s Gospel means to us now, and the courage to preach that Gospel.
SR. TERESITA ALO, SFIC, FR. ROBERTO P. REYES, FR. JOSELITO SARABIA, CM, FR. FLAVIANO L. VILLANUEVA, SVD, AND THE MEMBERS OF GOMBURZA
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