THE COUNTRY BEING PREDOMINANTLY CATHOLIC, the voice of the Roman Catholic Church is still being listened to-notwithstanding the various challenges She faces today.
Thus, the Pastoral Letter signed by our two bishops, Alberto S, Uy (of Tagbilaran) and Patrick Daniel Y. Parcon (of Talibon) is a plea that deserves the faithful’s undivided ear. After all, it rightly singles out the elections as one determinant of the kind of society that will be shaped as made by the leaders elected.
Politics can become a gold nugget, it says, if the candidates elected really listen to the people (not just their partisan supporters), their conscience and to God. When one has no belief in God, a scrupulous conscience will be hard to find.
For as the fictional character JR of Dallas ( an old TV series) said in his famous frameable quote: “When one has given up integrity, everything else is a piece of cake.” When integrity is to mean doing right even when no one else is looking or will ever find out. Because he knows God is looking.
The Pastoral Letter calls for all to lend one’s arm to advance the cause of the Church’ championed advocacy called CHAMP- letters that represent Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Elections and ONE GOOD VOTE movement.
It is a hopeful Pastoral Letter in that it recognizes the past election of some leaders who are clean and incompetent and got elected without fraud, vote-buying and character assassination of politics. Or have successfully raised the level of politics to a higher dimension.
Yet, it always takes two to tango, So, the admonition of the Letter addresses both the elective candidates and the voting electorate. For the candidates, an electoral campaign that is truthful, high-level and compassionate and without the pernicious use of money influence and violence. For the electorate, discernment of the Higher Truths and not to be swayed by the persuasion of lies, deception, and dirty silver.
For, in the end, society and its people will deserve the kind of leaders that they elect.
Today, Philippine society is facing two grave problems: poverty/powerlessness and unstable peace and order. Poverty is partly resulting from the corruption that deprives the common man the socio-economic benefits and opportunities for growth and an unjust justice system that renders a compartmentalized dispensation of justice.
Unstable peace and order is still the presence of the drug menace, criminals and terrorists and the recent disturbing SWS findings that 8 of 10 Filipinos fear today that they would themselves become the helpless victims of extra-judicial killings.
How many of your candidates are guilty of abetting such problems?
During elections, there is also the problem of incompetent candidates asking for the people’s votes. It is a serious problem because many of them do get elected by means fair and foul to the detriment of society. Let us cite one example of a national figure.
Actor Lito Lapid says he knows he cannot communicate well -due to lack of education and practice, perhaps- but he says he will “do work, not just use words.” That is where he clearly misses the point that the main task of a senator is to legislate new and amend old laws and not to dispense pork barrel projects which have been outlawed by the Supreme Court to be dispensed by legislators.
How many local candidates are of the above nature that you know?
Is the Voice of the People, therefore, always the Voice of God? Yes, if and when good men are elected by a discerning electorate, it is an expression of the Voice of God.
Even when a greedy, unthinking populace elects men of ill repute and incompetence due to various mutually beneficial arrangements, a Just God will allow that to happen. But chastisement in a later date will follow which will cleanse the malodorous dysfunctional structures in place. Think of EDSA One and Two or other examples.
Men, too, will suffer themselves the consequential fruits of misgovernance, chaos, and misdirection of a community or a nation. Do not think for once that we have a Sleeping Unconcerned God no matter what we do?
Which brings us to the final point about the sermon ” Hasthtags for the Hearers” by Fr. Harold Anthony S. Parilla as an 8th Sunday Reflection.
He says all of us make judgments every day from simple things like sleeping more or waking up to more complicated one as choosing public officials or speaking out our thoughts in public. Essentially, Fr, Parilla says when we make judgments about people, we must be aware that we ourselves are not perfect and often blinded by our own history of biases.
And that every “human being” is really a “human becoming”- a work in progress and, therefore, can still change for the good and positive redemption as to not deserving to be condemned judgmentally. In other words: ” condemn the sin, not the sinner”.
One exception is when one makes judgments for the purpose of fraternal correction or shepherding as he said to bring the strayed sheep back to the fold. But this apostolic task becomes lighter when the shepherds themselves become sources of credibility and good because of their own personal praiseworthy behaviors.
May each and all of us, therefore, become a party for good in the coming May Polls. Shalom!
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