Friday, December 19, 2014


There is the well-known saying that as everyone is born having nothing in his hands, so it is that everybody dies without taking anything with him in death. If someone has nothing upon birth and also brings nothing upon death, why could he/she ever think and believe that everything should be his/hers while still living? When some individuals practically have everything while other people actually have nothing, when some families corner, hoard and keep so much wealth while others are in fact empty-handed, when certain characters live in classy houses, wear fine clothes, costly jewelries and indulge in fine dining when many live in the streets, have tattered clothes to wear and barely have food to eat – something must be wrong, very wrong with the society they are members of. Reason: Temporal goods – precisely such as food, shelter and clothing – are for the benefit of all and not but for a few. The gross violation of the elementary Principle of the Universal Destiny of Goods” ultimately means injustice which brings about social disorder which in turn can be anything but the basis and origin of human development. This is not merely a speculative theory but a concrete reality as both past and present history amply testify to.

That some people have more temporal goods than others, that certain families have more economic resources than others, that there are individuals who hold more material possessions than others – this is acceptable based on the reality that different people, families and individuals have different abilities and/or differ in their industry and possibilities. But it is unacceptable – wrong, improper, unjust – when there are those who have practically everything while others have practically nothing. And such an adverse phenomenon is precisely the cause of social dissent, unrest and violence even. In the event of such a social liability, it is eventually human dignity that is defied as it is human rights that are violated. So came to pass radical communism, suspect socialism among other isms – one of whose central practices was the denial of the right to private property. So it is said that when in principle everyone is said to own everything, the truth is nobody really owns anything.

Without the least intention of saying or claiming that it is really just or altogether unjust, there is a theory that in order to prevent the radical discrepancy between those “Who have all” and those “Who have none”, it is proposed that the allowable total wealth of an individual, a family and/or a community should be legally defined such that any excess therefrom would be taken by the State as resources for helping others who have the least in possession if not practically nothing at all. If the theory is in line with the principle of “Eminent Domain” which is pursuant to the implications of the “Universal Destination of Goods”, then the theory may be meritorious – but under at least two conditions: The right to private property remains in force and the obligations of everyone to work in order to earn a living likewise remains binding. But in no way would such a theory mean that the “Universal Destination of Goods” us but a wish not a reality, merely an ideal but not an actuality.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


As demanded of elementary logic and as expected by plain reason, any venture to compose and present  a philosophy as well as to prepare and proclaim a body of fundamental and integrated teachings, rightfully demand the adoption and observance of principles  - normative guidelines, abiding rules and/or  rational posits – that are not only necessary but also practical for the logical understanding and consequent affirmation of the said teachings, considering the latter's intended coherence or composite unity.  The Social Doctrine of the Church definitely has and faithfully observes such principles.

It can be readily said that in general, the principles of the Church's Social Doctrine is drawn and based on a unique or singular tripod: God-Man-God's Image.  So is it that when the central subject concern is God alone, there is Theology.  When the primary object treated is man, there is Philosophy.  But when the converging focus of learning and teaching is God plus man as God's Image, then the Social Doctrine of the Church comes to fore.

It is precisely for this reason that the propositions, affirmations and proclamations of the Social Doctrine of the Church cannot be divorced from Divinity although it is primarily about humanity, may not be really understood without God although it is primarily  about man – in conjunction with the latter's human nature, human dignity, human rights.  To those who dare claim that the Social Doctrine of the Church is impractical, then let them explain why many human atrocities persist all over the world, why inhuman realities and not righteousness are rather common realities in the four corners of the globe.  No. This is not meant to say that the Social Doctrine of the Church would make the world heavenly.  But the same body teachings with their unified and unifying principles would certainly make the world a much safer and beneficial place to live in – for men, women and children as well as for the elderly, the youth and  babies.

It is not hard to know and understand that it is the human person – with its inherent dignity and immediate implications and necessary consequences – that is the heart itself of the Social Doctrine of the Church.  Again: The human person in tenure of human dignity is the central concern and focus of the said Doctrine.  In other words, the person with its constitutive human dignity plus innate human rights constitutes the very foundation of the Social Doctrine of the Church that is eminently  about man living in the temporal world and about society  composed of human beings in particular.  Without these realities, the said Doctrine is one big futility.

The truth is that if God had nothing to do with man and/or if man were not made to His image, then the Social Doctrine of the Church – if any – would be just like any secular theory and recommendation about man, about society, about the world.  Such is precisely what makes materialistic thinking and egoistic practices as well as atheistic convictions and actuations that are not only dangerous but even fatal to mankind.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Mission is a given mandate and an accepted commitment, an entrusted concern and an affirmed agenda. And the fundamental mission handed to and being faithfully attended to by the Church is to look after man as a totality of body and soul, mind, will, and spirit primarily in order to lead him in doing good and in drawing himself away from evil, to wherefore guide and care for him from birth to death – eventually in preparation for his continuous living existence hereafter and beyond.

So it is that the Social Mission of the Church is to attend to the welfare of man as a member of society immersed in earthly realities meant to bring about his common good, specially in terms of the search for truth, the administration of justice, the reign of peace and the eventual emergence of socio-economic development – all in his favor. So is that the Church as a whole is well-covered by the two fundamental Commandments: Love of God and Love of Man – the favorite of God.

All the above observations however in no way mean that the Church, her mission in general and her social apostolate in particular, assumes that the State is all the while doing what it is obliged and expected to do in the temporal order for the good of man – such as through good governance and humane politics productive of prosperity, peace and order. The Church wherefore that is in tenure of the required knowledge and ethico-moral authority remains obliged to teach and promote her Social Doctrine specially so when people are abused and/or oppressed, violated and/or victimized by secular power.

Man is the darling of creation,” so say men of wisdom and vision. So is it too that the Church gives special attention to and shows pursuant concern in favor of man as expressed through her Social Doctrine appended to her social mission. And it can be readily assumed that after more than two thousand years of ministerial existence on earth, the Church knows what is good for man in the temporal sphere in order to prepare him to eventually have his peace and joy in the realm of eternity.

Let it be said clearly and emphatically that her Social Doctrine is an integral part of the mission of the Church to proclaim the inherent dignity and ultimate destiny of every human being. The said Doctrine is a body of teachings about the human person, about human society, about humanity as a whole – a Doctrine that is premised on the light of reason and the bidding of ethics consonant with truths of faith and the directives of morals. This is not meant to say that the Church intervenes in purely technical questions through her Social Doctrine, nor does the former endorses or establishes any specific societal organization. The Church simply teaches, proposes and proclaims that man must be set free of social evils such as in terms of inhumane structures, dehumanizing organizations and anti-human practices – lest he forgets what he really is and what for he is really meant in the supernal level. So is it that the Social Doctrine of the Church is pro-man on behalf of God.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Thus reads and stands the over-all spirit of the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, i.e. the thematic focus of his coming to personally meet the Filipinos in this and that chosen place, for this and that scheduled activity.  But then, it is well-known that first and foremost in his heart and mind is his desire and eagerness to visit and be with those who suffered much and are in fact still suffering from the ruin and mortal havoc brought about by the markedly destructive typhoon “Yolanda”.

Thousands of lives were lost.  So many houses and other structures were destroyed.  Most resources were ruined.  And to this day, more than a year has passed since those fatal days, may emotional wounds are still fresh, much temporal ruins are still seen.  And so it is that the Pope himself wants to and insists on going to the center of devastation to be with the devastated people, i.e. to meet them, to mingle with then, to eat even with them.  Yes.  He is going to other places.  He is meeting other people.  But just the same, the focal point of his visit is to be with the “Yolanda” victims.

So it is that the center reference point and focal element of his forthcoming visit to the Philippines – where a big number of people are poor, where peace remains elusive, where human dignity is at stake -   is precisely “Mercy and Compassion”.  Mercy means “Pagkaawa”.  Compassion mean “Pakikipagdusa”.  While the former remains with oneself, the latter makes a transit to others.  While the former basically remains a feeling, the latter goes to action.  And needless to say, multi-million Filipinos need the “Mercy and Compassion of their better-off brothers and sisters.

So it is that Pope Francis recently made the following pronouncements:

“Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving voice to the cry of the poor so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.” (14 June 2013)

The poor speak but they are not listened to.  The poor act but they are silenced.  The poor suffer but they are not seen.

Peace is a gift of God, but requires our efforts.  let u be people of prayer and deed.” (6 June 2014)

There can be no peace without justice whereas it is precisely injustice that ultimately causes mal-development and  misery.

“How I wish everyone had decent work!  It is essential for human dignity.” (24 June 2014)

Seeking work but there is none.  Finding work but salaries are meagre.  To be workless and helpless are not the premises of human dignity.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The Church is universal. She is found established – praying, teaching, serving – in big or small groupings of people all over the world, among individuals of all races, colors and languages. So is it that with all these particulars, the Church is universal with billions of members, among whom are millions of Sisters, Priests, Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals. But there is but one and only Pontiff who is supreme. So it is that the Church is one and universal – here and all-over, there and everywhere. And so it is that Pope Francis is the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.

And this one and universal Church now has a Supreme Pontiff who is not only pro-God but also pro-people, who has at heart and in mind not only the bliss in heaven but also the misery on earth, who is preoccupied with not only the spiritual good but also the corporal welfare of the people; who proclaims and promotes not only the theological teachings but also the social doctrine of the Church. In other words, he affirms and promotes not only the vertical relation of man to God but also man's horizontal relation with his fellowmen – neither one or the other but both that he precisely makes the composite of the Holy cross.

And exactly the same Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church is also the Sovereign of the Vatican City State. In other words: Pope Francis is not only an ecclesial Leader but also a diplomatic Figure. Among other things, this means that 1. He is a Head of State. 2. He has a diplomatic status. 3. He sends his ambassadors to Countries with diplomatic relations with the Vatican. 4. His ambassadors are called “Nuncio”. 5. The Nuncios by virtue of the Geneva Convention are automatically the Heads of the Diplomatic Corps of the countries they are sent to.

As a matter of course wherefore, Pope Francis: 1. Has a diplomatic status and pursuant diplomatic immunity. 2. Rides a standard plane which usually adopts the temporary title of “Shepherd One” for identification by all the airports concerned. 3. Meets with the Head of State he goes to as a matter of diplomatic courtesy. 4. Acknowledges the danger of his exposure to the general public posed by individuals with evil agenda. 5. Accepts the security provided by the Country he visits.

This brings to mind the on-the-ground reality about what Pope Francis is in conjunction with his security. It is not unknown that he is a populist Pope, i.e. someone who loves to meet, to go to, to mingle with people. In a special way, he loves children and individuals with disability. All these brings to fore one conclusion: His security will not have an easy time “securing” him. But then, his best security is still the Good Lord – plus people with good will who are not few.