Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Human Family

"The Vital Cell of Society", "The Natural Society", "The Communion of Persons" - these are the three more distinct phrases and significant truths promoted by sound reason and ethics in conjunction with the smallest human community. The family is so ordinary and so common that it is considered as a matter-of-fact phenomenon. It is in every place at anytime such that the family is taken for granted. It is the standard unit of persons that people by and large see nothing that distinct nor that special to address it with gravity and importance. So it is that the family is usually taken for granted - if not in fact depreciated and even violated.

Needless to say, the family is the origin of every human person in the past, the present and the future yet to come. This fundamental as well as practical reality alone already signals the unique nature, the distinct attributions and finalities of the family. In other words, unless someone directly falls down from the skies in heaven or nonchalantly rises up from the depths of the earth, the family is a basic and phenomenal human entity giving origin to individual persons. Without the family, there would be no community. Without the community, there would be no society. Without society, what would the big wide world be, what would it be for?

So it is nothing less than the Good Book forwards the following three figures that brought the family to living reality. One, there stood a man. Two, there came a woman. Three, there appeared their children. And so the family came to being. And so humanity became a living reality. By the way, before the coming of any man and woman, no less than Divinity saw to it that everything else was prepared - the land, the sea and the skies, the plants, the birds and the animals. How then could the family not have its rightful significance - even but in the purely temporal order? How then could the relevance, importance and finality of the human family be not duly recognized? The truth is that the family - based on marriage and intended for the birth of children - is the basic origin of humanity as a whole.

The objective truth is that the family is the very first natural society, with thus equally natural rights that are proper to it that in effect place it at the center of human society by virtue of natural law itself.

The standard notion of society is that it is a group of people who come from a group of neighbors, who in turn basically come from a group of families. In other words, the family is the beginning of the making of a society that is wherefore by composed of families. And society being basically a composition of individuals and individuals being constituents of a family, it follows that family is the "First Natural Society". In other words, in the order of time and in the sphere of realities, the family is the first society in the order of nature. Woe to those who in effect actually destroy families by legislative provisions and/or amoral practices. Would that they neither come from a family, nor have a family of their own.

Monday, January 19, 2015

THE WORK BEGINS




After a truly successful Pastoral – caring, teaching, leading – Visit of the good and lovable, wise and holy Pope Francis, the renewed pursuant implementing Pastoral Ministry of the Church in the Philippines begins by working for the deeper understanding and consequent observance of his reminders, advisories and mandates.  It was great to see him!  It was a big experience to witness his kindness, humility and concern!  It was a blessing to listen to him!  According to him:

The poor are crying for help.  They are all over the land – in urban and rural areas, in the slums, in the streets begging, in the pavements sleeping.  Children are  begging for food, shelter and clothing, for care, safety and education.  Their parents have no work.  Meanwhile, there is much gambling among the people, not to mention the reign of criminals, the proliferation of drugs and addiction thereto.

The  families are threatened by parents leaving their children behind to find work  abroad.  Decent housing,  they do not have.  How to satisfy their needs,  they do not know.  How to send their children to school,  they have not the means.   So is it that the answer of the government to all these is to prevent the birth of children through all possible ways and means to impede the coming of life.

The Country is suffering not only from corruption and consequent maldevelopment but also from ideological colonization.  While the former guarantees the continued poverty of the Filipinos, the latter undermines their sound  cultural traits and moral value system.  Unfilipinos they ultimately become.

So the work begins:

The Clergy have to minister to the people not only by attending  to their spiritual but also material needs, not simply  by catering to their heavenly quest but also by looking after their earthly preoccupations.  This pastoral ministry is in perfect accord  with the two fundamental  Commandments  of Love of God and Love of Neighbor – neither simply one or the other but both.

The Religious have to look after the human welfare – the mental, ethical, social –requirements of those committed to their care, those who ask and/or need their attention, those who are lost and need their care.  More than anything else, the active Religious Vocation is meant for serving others.  It is in serving others that they find their real self.

The Laity have to be attentive to the cries for help of their fellow laymen and women, their fellow married couples, their fellow fathers and mothers.  More than the Clergy and the Religious, they understand  better the aspirations of those who have the same vocation.  The Laity is the wealth of the Church – particularly in the Philippines.

Friday, January 16, 2015

MERCY + COMPASSION = SOLIDARITY



POPE FRANCIS IS HERE! The CATHOLICS are ecstatic! And the FILIPINOS in general are truly blessed by his presence, edified by his examples, and most of all, beneficiaries of his teachings – all essentially in accord with people loving people, with FILIPINOS being more aware of and attentive to the common good of their fellow Pinoys in the spirit of MERCY and COMPASSION and wherefore in the realm of SOLIDARITY.

When someone is alone, companionless, unsociable – avoids others for whatever reason, shuns community for whatever cause – this is known as being solitary. This is usually identified with being lonely, desolate and isolated. When somebody remains in seclusion – stays detached, remains reclusive, lives solo – this is solitude or “solo-flight”. But when someone seeks not only unity but also closeness with others, wants not merely companionship but cooperation with others as well, pursues consolidation of interests and duties with his/her neighbors – this is the essence and implications of “Solidarity” with “solid” (full and compact, durable and tough) as its root word.

Egoism and selfishness, remoteness and isolation, disharmony and divisiveness – these are some of the more common options and consequent actuations of certain individuals, contrary to the meaning and spirit of “Solidarity”. In this case, the losers are the individuals with such negative social particulars. The truth of the matter is that man is a social being, i.e., customarily seeking and living in society herein finding his fellows and having companionship with them and herefrom having his needs satisfied and his aspirations realized. This is why being a loner is a personal liability – having nobody to share his joys and blessings.

It can be rightfully said that sociability is the basis of “Solidarity”. The connatural disposition of man to be with others, herewith sharing his interests and concerns, yearnings and aspirations as well as satisfaction and good fortune – this is the composite causal factor of solidarity. The better person someone is, the more he/she not only keeps but also shares his/her good fortune, the better citizen he/she becomes and the more “Solidarity” the same lives by. Let it be well understood that such a positive and honorable reality as “Solidarity” in no way applies to the groups of gangsters, thieves, and other criminals. Reason: As “Solidarity” is categorically pro-society, criminality is definitely anti-society – considering that criminals are but for themselves and thus against everybody else who are in fact the objects of their evil deed, the victims of the crimes they commit. It is good to note that there is no “Solidarity” among evil individuals – but only conspiracy along the infamous solemn oath of “Omerta” among Mafia members who are all anti-social.


Solidarity through mercy and compassion – this is a signal composite social blessing. And this is what Pope Francis stands for.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TERRORISM


POPE FRANCIS, the man of love and peace, is about to arrive on this distant land. The CATHOLICS in particular are full of joy and expectation. The PHILIPPINES is a blessed Country to have a Visitor whom Divinity has chosen and entrusted humanity and whom people in general have come to admire and treasure. And all these notwithstanding, his SECURITY is at stake. Reason: Admit it or not, there are terrorists in the land who believe the world is theirs, who look at the Pope as a mortal enemy.

To bulldoze and bully, to coerce and frighten. To horrify, intimidate and menace, to threaten, browbeat and oppress – not to mention to belittle, to maim and take lives – these are some of the intents and purposes of terrorism”. This is why it is so hard to welcome and clap for terrorists. To think and conclude that terrorism is the way of the reasonable and the upright, can be anything but the demonstration of sound reason, something but the expression of an ethical value system.

In other words, terrorism may not be the sane option of either socialized and/or civilized individuals. And that is why given the vicious nature, the twisted intent and fatal consequences of terrorism, the Social Doctrine of the Church finds the “Condemnation of Terrorism” consonant with moral principles. Thus stands the following three more explicit and categorical pronouncements of the said Social Doctrine. They may be considered forceful but remain truthful.

1. “Terrorism is one of the most brutal forms of violence that traumatizes in these times the international community. It sows hatred, death and urges revenge and reprisal.”

Only terrorists themselves will deny this reality.

2. “Terrorism is to be condemned in more absolute terms. It shows complete contempt for human life and cannot be justified whereas the human person is always an end but never a means.”

To sanction terrorism is inanity if not insanity.

3. “Acts of terrorism strike at the heart of human dignity and constitute an offense against all humanity... No religion may tolerate terrorism, much less preach it.”

Religious terrorism is a blatant contradiction.

That above-cited rather strong and severe social doctrinal pronouncements of the Church on the intrinsic evil and ingrained viciousness of terrorism, need no explanation or elaboration. They are stern, yes. They are stringent, yes. But true and realistic they also are.


Monday, January 12, 2015

WAR


No less than on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life – it is not only relevant and urgent but also timely and compelling that no less than Pope Francis himself directly and clearly addressed the inhumane and even deadly curse brought about by war for material, ideological and even religious causes. So it is that upon a closer study of and more profound reflection on the fatal phenomenon of war, it is both quite difficult and rather improbable that there would be true and lasting peace among the constituent parts of humanity when the latter altogether ignore if not even deny the existence and intervention of divinity – even on earthly issues. This is why long before the coming of Christianity in the world, belief in the wrong or false god or non-belief in God at all was the usual underlying cause of war among people of the same or different races, colors and tongues. If there were no God, how come there is man? Did he make himself? Or is he but a “finished” animal?

This is not even saying anything about seemingly godly individuals – particularly legitimate or illegitimate leaders from the local to the regional, from the national to the international levels – who in reality are practicing atheists and who look at man as altogether divorced from God Who is his creative origin and final destiny. These so-called leaders are not simply potential but actual warlords even in today's world. The fact is that world peace appears rather elusive particularly during these times of practical atheism if not basically errant religious belief.

By the way, in terms of its implications and consequences, peace is the fullness of life. Otherwise, it would not be altogether erroneous to say that there is peace in cemeteries. So it is that when rifles are not fired and/or bombs are not dropped, these do not necessarily mean the reign of peace. The truth is that peace also stands for harmony and pursuant development, for unity and consequent progress of humanity.

This is no underestimating the evil brought by war to sinners and saints alike, to the warriors as well as to the civilians, not only to the vicious but also the virtuous, to the elderly and the children as well. It has to be emphasized that peace is much more than just the mere absence of war, although war can be rightfully considered as the apex of human misery. Instead of food, shelter and clothing, guns, bullets and bombs are produced and used. In place of harmony and understanding, hatred and violence are instead sown and actually made to reign among a people if not among nations.

Lastly, there is no such thing as a Just War” - for any “just cause” with any “just intention” and other supposedly excusing factors or alleged noble rationalizations. Reason: “The end does not justify the means”. To wage war in order to have peace, to kill in order to save lives, to destroy in order to build and the like – these are some of the irrational arguments for waging wars. In other words, there must be other ways and means to have and maintain peace. It is truth that ushers in justice. And it is justice that brings about peace and development.