#AMRSPBAnaYANi, a church response
Some Inquirer readers engaged in exchanges in the Letters Section on whether or not church leaders and church people are playing significant roles in society during these difficult, confusing times. Where are they, how are they, when are they…
Reader Donato Soliven wrote (June 16, 2021): “The Catholic Church since the passing of the Cardinal Sin era has been reduced to a whimper in a vast howling wilderness of violence and injustice with only a few prophetic voices that are hardly heard or even disregarded by their very own constituency.”
To which reader Reginald B. Tamayo agreed and added (June 22, 2021): “The Church is not just called to issue a reflection of the evils in society, but also to instruct the faithful on what to do when confronted with such in light of the Gospel values and teachings of the Church… The Church can never be silent about social evils. When it is or chooses to be, it ceases to be the real Church.”
Amen and amen. I must stress though that before Cardinal Sin, there were the nuns and priests in the grassroots, some even laying down their lives. (I was assigned to write about them years ago for an issue on the anniversary of the imposition of martial law that ushered in a dark period in history.)
The good news is that right now many women religious—and men as well—are down there in the trenches, working quietly among the marginalized and dispossessed and getting the ire of the Duterte government that sees them as threats, and therefore are subjected to “Red-tagging” and even deported.
The latest good news is that the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) launched its BAnaYANi, a “15-month campaign on electoral engagement for good governance, ecological integrity, human rights and human dignity.” BAnaYANi stands for “Ako ay banal at bayani ng bayan” (My translation: I am holy/godly and a hero for the country). I’d like to think that it is something to work on and achieve rather than a holier-than-thou declaration. The AMRSP has sent notice that its members “aggressively implement” its plan of action.
The AMRSP has 361 member congregations of both women and men, represented by their respective major superiors. The rank and file are in the thousands, many of whom are highly educated and equipped to be game changers and agents of societal change through their various ministries and spheres of influence.
So with national elections less than a year away, the AMRSP is counting on its foot soldiers to put on their armor and go to battle. There is so much at stake.
#AMRSPBAnaYANi has released a detailed plan on its 15-month campaign, foremost of which is on “electoral engagement for good governance.” It follows the Commission on Elections’ calendar that culminates in the May 2022 national elections.
“The end goal,” the campaign statement says, “is to turn the current situation to favor good governance in the 2022 national elections, uphold human rights and human dignity and reclaim the integrity of creation. The AMRSP network is one community, one family working for the realization of a heaven on earth, here and now.”
The campaign has five components to be implemented over the 15 months. The AMRSP Facebook page provides details for those who “follow.” Included among the AMRSP reference materials that can serve as guide is Pope Francis’ message on the 2019 World Day of Peace which points out how good politics can work in the service of peace.
In his message, the Pope recalled the “Beatitudes of a Politician” proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal Francis-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, who died in 2002.
“Blessed be the politician with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role. Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility. Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest. Blessed be the politician who remains consistent. Blessed be the politician who works for unity. Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change. Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening. Blessed be the politician who is without fear.”
What kind of candidates will BAnaYANi reject?
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