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Archive for the ‘What is Truth’ Category

(Homily delivered by His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales during the Mass at the Prayer Rally “Filipinos! Unite Under God” at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, on March 25,2011, Feast of the Annunciation and Day of the Unborn Child, at 7 p.m.)

Nagsalita ang Panginoong Diyos kay Moises at sa mga sumasampalataya sa kanya nang ganito: “Tatawagin ko ang langit at lupa na sumaksi laban sa inyo. ‘Ihahain ko sa inyo ay buhay o kamatayan, ang pagpapala o ang sumpa. Piliin na ninyo ang buhay, nang sa gayo’y kayo at ang inyong salin-lahi ay mabuhay sa pagibig ng Panginoong inyong Diyos, tumatalima at nananatili sa Kanya.” (Deuteronomio 30:19).

Simulan natin ang pagninilay sa prinsipyo na ang buhay ay ang pinakamahalagang biyaya na kaloob ng Panginoong Diyos sa sinumang tao. Ito ang matinding paniniwala at turo ng Simbahang Katoliko na ang buhay ng tao, kahima’t mahina or nagdurusa ay palaging isang pinakamalaking biyaya ng kabutihan ng Diyos (Familiaris Consortio, n. 30).

Kapag hindi ninyo pinahalagahan ang buhay na iyan sa alinman o saan mang yugto ng buhay ng tao (sanggol, foetus, matanda, malakas o mahina), hinding-hindi igagalang ang buhay ng sinuman — at diyan kapag wala ng halaga o walang pagpapahalaga, wala ng magtatanggol sa buhay, dadayain ang buhay na yan, aapihin, kikidnapin na, pagsisinungalingan na, pagnanakawan na ang buhay na ‘yan ng tao!

Kanya napaka-ganda ang pagtuturo ng Simbahan — alagaan, ipagtanggol at itaguyod ang buhay. Huwag hahadlangan ng anuman sandata o anumang artipisyal na paraan ang buhay. Ang paglalapastangan sa buhay na iyan, malakas man o mahina, na ating laging, pinapahalagahan ay labag sa kulturang Pilipino tungkol sa buhay ng tao. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).

Ang kahirapan ng tao o kaya’y ang pagdami ng tao ay likas na merong solusyon at ang kasagutan dito ay aral na rin ng Panginoong Hesukristo. Una, ang yaman ng daigdig or kaya’y ang pinagsikapan ng tao ay sapa’t na at sobra pa upang pagsaluhan ng lahat. “Magmahalan kayo” at magdamayan sa ngalan ng pagibig. Ikalawa, mayroong paraan na inilagay ang Panginoong Diyos sa kalikasan ng katawan ng lalaki at babae, na ito ay marapat alamin o pag-aralan upang matiyak ang mga araw kung kalian maaaring madulot ng panibagong buhay sa pagtatalik ang binhi ng lalaki at babae. Sa bawa’t pagtatalik ang mag-asawa ay maaaring maging katuwang ng Panginoong Diyos sa paglikha ng panibagong buhay. (Humanae Vitae, n. 11).

Banal ang buhay ng magasawa at sapagkat ito ay banal ito ay ginagantihan ng Panginoong Diyos ng tuwa at ligaya ang bawa’t pagsasama ng sinuman magasawa, sapagka’t habang buhay nilang ipag-papatuloy ang masidhing pangangalaga hanggang sa ang mga anak ay akayin sa kabutihang asal, banal ring pamumuhay na mayroong pagdamay at paggalang sa kapwa hanggang sa katandaan.

Mayroon naming natural na paraan sa paghahanda sa mahalagang buhay na iyan. At iyan ang tinatawag na NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING. At ito ay kaloob ng Panginoong Diyos sa kalikasan ng bawat tao, lalaki or babae. Alam ng makapangyarihang Panginoong Diyos na darating ang araw na dapat lalung pag-aralan at may pananagutang balakin ang dakilang paghahanda sa buhay na iyan. Kung kaya’t inilagay ng Panginoong Diyos sa kalikasan ng katawan ng tao—lalaki at babae—ang wasto at tiyak na paraan at panahon ng hinog na binhi (ng buhay) para magsilang ng bagong buhay ng tao, lalang, at sa kawangis at kalarawan ng Diyos. (Henesis 1:27).

Sa pag-aaral ng paraan para tiyakin ang mahalaga at banal na mga sandaling ng nahihinog na binhi ng buhay, malalaman ng sinuman ang mga banal na sandaling iyan—at kailangan naman sa mga tiyak na sandal at araw na iyan ang pagtitimpi, pagpigil sa sarili (pagpigil sa pang-gigigil). Yan ang sakripisyo ng tao. Alalaon baga ay kailangan ang mga sandal ng disiplina. Kapag may disiplina sa kama, tiyak na magkakaroon ng disiplina sa kalsada, maging sa pitaka (karta moneda). Dito mapapahalagahan natin ang “values” na itinuturo ng Simbahan.

Banal po mga kapatid ang Gawain ng mag-asawa, kaya naman ginagantihan ng Butihing Diyos ng ligaya at tuwa ang mag-asawa hindi lamang sa pagtatalik, kung hindi hanggang sa mapalaki sa kabutihang asal, kabaitan at akayin sa kabanalan ang kanilang mga anak. Kasama diyan ng magasawa ang Panginoong Diyos. At ang tapat na magasawa ay hindi pinababayaan ng Panginoon.

Banal ang pag-aasawa; banal ang pagtatalik sapagka’t ito ay kalakip ng pagbibigay ng buhay na galling sa Panginoong Diyos. Hindi ito laru-laruan na ituturo sa mga bata sa paggamit ng goma, lobo o condom, para iwasan daw ang sakit? Bakit mga bata ang tuturuan ng ganitong laro? Hindi po ba ang tamang ituro sa kabataan ay ang magandang halimbawa ng matatanda at ang kahalagahan ng buhay, ang kabanalan ng pagpipigil sa sarili na ang tawag ay disiplina? Ang awag po noong una ay kapag may pagpipigil, mayroong disiplina at paggalang at magkakaroon din ng Karakter ang tao. Ngayon ang gusting ipamulat sa kabataan ay ito: gamitin ang goma, maglaro kayo! Ganyan kabarato ang buhay ng tao ngayon.

Salamat at mayroong Simbahan at salamat at mayroong Pananampalataya na nagpapaalaala pa (kahit mayroong ilang mga mambabatas o matatanda na kakaiba ang isip na hindi na mabuting makapangaral, hindi na kayang magpagturo ng magandang asal at batas na magpapabalik pa sa dahan-dahang nawawala at nanghihinang magandang hiyas na ating kabihasnang Pilipino.

At bakit bata pa ay tinuturuan na ang mga anak ng ilang mga matatanda at mambabatas sa pag-iwas sa responsibilidad at ang pagwawalang bahala sa katuwiran at kalinisan? (Sa pangalan daw ng sanidad at kalusugan). Puro maalawang palusot ang gustong ituro sa kabataan ng ilang mambabatas—kanya ganiyan ang magiging bukas ng Pilipinas—mga mamayan na puro palusot, lahat ng padulas ang alam. May peligrong mawawala ang halag (value) ng kristiyano at tunay na Filipino. Ang dapat ituro sa kabataan ay kalinisan ng budhi, kalinisan ng puso, disiplina at pagpipigil sa sarili at paggalang sa hindi sariling pera.

Anong klaseng panukalang batas itong RH Bill na kung maging batas na, at ang itinuro o ipaliwanag ng Simbahan at mga naglilingkod dito ay ang katwiran ng galing sa Bibliya, Pananampalataya at konsensiya ng Kristiyano tungkol sa Buhay at Kalinisan, sa halip na ang turo ay ang RH law, ay maaaring papag-multahin o ibilanggo ang mga ito? Paparusahan pa ang sumusunod sa konsensiya at Pananampalataya. Hindi ito ang Pilipinas! Hindi na tayo babanggit ng anumang bansa, pero hindi ito ang Pilipinas na minahal at pinag-alayan ng buhay ng mga bayani, sampo ng tatlong Pari — Padre Mariano Gomez, Padre Jose Burgos, at Padre Jacinto Zamora. Sa El Filibusterismo, ang unang pahina ay inihandog ni Jose Rizal sa tatlong pari na iyan. (At ang gusto pang alalahanin ng ilan ay si DAMASO na ito naman ay hindi Pilipino!)

Ito ang paninindigan ng Simbahan:

1. Ang pagmamalasakit sa katatayuan ng maraming mahihirap, lalo na ang mga nagdurusang kababaihan na nagsusumikap upang gumanda ang buhay at kailangan pang mangibang bayan upang kamtin ito o kailangan pang pumasok sa isang hindi disenteng paghahanap-buhay. Nababagabag ang Simbahan diyan.

2. Ang Simbahang Katoliko ay para sa buhay at dapat ipagsanggalang ang buhay ng tao mula sa sandal na ito ay ipaglihi o mabuo hanggang sa natural ng katapusan nito.

3. Naniniwala ang Simbahan sa mapanagutang (responsible) pagsasaayos ng bilang at panahon ng pagsisilang sa pamamagitan ng Natural Family Planning. Dito kailangan ang pagbuo ng matatag na kalooban (character building) na nagtataglay ng sakripisyo, disiplina at paggalang sa dangal ng asawa. Kung wala kang sakripisyo, hindi ka makakabuo ng karakter.

4. Ang sinumang tao ay tagapangasiwa lamang ng kanyang katawan. Ang pananagutan sa ating katawan ay dapat umalinsunod sa kalooban ng Diyos na nangungusap sa atin sa pamamagitan ng konsensiya (budhi). Kapag hindi pinakinggan at iginalang ang tinig na ‘yan ng Diyos (sa konsensiya), yayanigin at lilindulin, hindi ang bundok at dagat, kung hindi ang budhing ‘yan ng sinumang tao.

5. Aming paninindigan na sa mga pagpili kaugnay ng RH Bill, ang budhi (konsensiya) ay hindi lamang sapat na kabatiran kung hindi higit sa lahat ay ginagabayan ng mga itinuturo ng kanyang pananampalataya.

6. Naniniwala kami sa kalayaan sa relihiyon at sa karapatan ng pagtutol ayon sa budhi (konsensiya) sa mga bagay na labag sa sariling pananampalataya. Ang nakapataw at parusa sa napapaloob sa minumungkahing RH Bill ay dahilan para sa aming pagtutol dito. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).

May panahon pa upang maiwasan ang trahedya moral na idudulot ng RH Bill.

Baguhin ang mga panukalang ‘yan, o ibagsak ang kayang kabuuan ng siyang pugad ng walang paggalang sa buhay, pagkawala ng responsibilidad at disiplina na siyang tunay na kailangan ngayon ng tao at bayan.

Kung ang mga bata ay natuturuan pa ng Simbahan, ang mambabatas ay amin rin pinapaalalahan. Lahat kayo, ngayon at bukas, ay kasama sa aming dalangin.

Pagpalain kayong lahat at ang Bayan ng Poong Maykapal! Mahal tayo ng Diyos at alaga ng Ina ni Hesus!

+G.B.ROSALES
Prayer Rally
Feast of the Annunciation
25 March 2011

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Reclaiming Our Humanity

(In view of the political crisis that we face as a country right now and the call of the Bishops “to pray together, reason together, decide together, act together” I share with out readers the homily entitled RECLAIMING OUR HUMANITY delivered by Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ, at the thanksgiving mass for Jun Lozada at the De La Salle University last 17 February 2008. We hope that this will help us in our “coming, praying, deciding and acting together.” – Msgr. Dodong Oso)

 

On this Second Sunday of Lent, during which we are asked to reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, I wish to touch on three themes that have to

do with our moral transformation as a people:  first, Ascertaining Credibility; second, Rediscovering our Humanity; and third, Witnessing to the Truth.  In so doing, I hope to invite all of you to reflect more deeply on how we, as a nation, might respond to the present political crisis in which our identity and ethos, our convictions and integrity, in fact, who we are as a people, are at stake.

 

I.  ASCERTAINING CREDIBILITY

 

Jun, as Sen. Miriam Santiago has grilled you to ascertain your credibility (or was it to undermine your credibility?), allow me to raise some important questions to consider in the very process of discerning your credibility. Allow me to do so by drawing on my own counseling experience.

 

Very often, a young rape victim initially suppresses his or her awful and painful story, indeed wills to forget it, in the hope that by forgetting, he or she can pretend it never happened.   But very often, too, there comes a point when concealing the truth becomes unbearable, and the desperate attempts to supposedly preserve life and sanity become increasingly untenable.

 

At this point the victim of abuse decides to seek help.  But even after having taken this step, the victim, devastated and confused, will tell his or her story with much hesitation and trepidation.  It should be easy to imagine why. In telling the truth, one risks casting shame on himself or herself, subjecting oneself to intense scrutiny and skepticism, and jeopardizing one’s safety and those of his or her loved ones, especially when one dares to go up against an older or more powerful person.

 

Similarly, it is easy to imagine why Jun would initially refuse to challenge the might of Malacanang. Who in his or her right mind would accuse Malacanang of crimes against our people and implicate the First Family in a sordid tale of greed and corruption, knowing that by doing so, one endangers one’s life and the lives of his or her loved ones? We are, after all, living in dangerous times, where the government has not hesitated to use everything in its power to keep itself in power, where it has yet to explain and solve the numerous cases of extra-judicial killings.

But Jun is in his right mind.  His story rings true especially in the face of the perils that he has had to face.  And by his courage, Jun has also shown that it is not only that he is in his right mind; his heart is also in the right place.

 

Hence, my personal verdict: Jun, I believe that you are a credible witness.  And if hundreds have gathered here this morning, it is probably because they also believe in you.  Mga kapatid, naniniwala ba kayo kay Jun Lozada? Naniniwala ba kayo sa kanyang testimonya? Kung gayon, palakpakan po natin ang Probinsyanong Intsik, si Mr. Jun Lozada.

 

Jun, we hope that by our presence here, you may find some consolation.  Pope Benedict XVI writes that “con-solatio” or consolation means “being with the other in his or her solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude.”  Jun, be assured that your solitude is no longer isolation as we profess our solidarity with you.  Hindi ka nag-iisa.  We are committed to stay the course and to do our best to protect you and your family and the truth you have proclaimed. 

 

 

II.   REDISCOVERING OUR HUMANITY

 

What makes Jun a credible witness to us?

 

I think Jun is credible not simply by virtue of his being an eyewitness to the unmitigated greed of some of our public officials. Perhaps more importantly, Jun is credible because he has witnessed to us what it means to be truly human.

 

Which leads me to my second theme:  What does it mean to be human?  How might we rediscover our humanity?  

 

Allow me to quote Pope Benedict XVI, who in his latest encyclical, Spe Salvi, has written:   “the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme.  Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life becomes a lie. . . For this … we need witnesses—martyrs ….  We need them if we are to prefer goodness to comfort, even in the little choices we face each day.”

 

Our Holy Father concludes, “the capacity to suffer for the sake of the truth is the measure of humanity.”

 

Isn’t this the reason we emulate our martyrs: Jose Rizal, Gomburza, Evelio Javier, Macli-ing Dulag, Cesar Climaco and Ninoy Aquino?  They have borne witness for us what it means to be truly human—to be able to suffer for the sake of others and for the sake of the truth.

 

I remember Cory recalling a conversation she had with Ninoy while they were in exile in Boston.  Cory asked Ninoy what he thought might happen to him once he set foot in Manila.  Ninoy said there were three possibilities: one, that he would be rearrested and detained once more in Fort Bonifacio; two, that he would be held under house arrest; and three, that he would be assassinated.

 

“Then why go home?” Cory asked.

 

To which Ninoy answered:  “Because I cannot allow myself to die a senseless death, such as being run over by a taxi cab in New York.  I have to go home and convince Ferdinand Marcos to set our people free.”

 

Witnessing to one’s deepest convictions, notwithstanding the consequences, is the measure of our humanity.  Proclaiming the truth to others, whatever the cost, is the mark of authentic humanity.

 

Jun, we know you have feared for your life and continue to do so.  But in transcending your fears for yourself and your family, you have reclaimed your humanity.  And your courage and humility, despite harassment and calumniation by government forces, embolden us to retrieve and reclaim our humanity tarnished by our cowardice and complicity with sin in the world.  You have inspired us to be true to ourselves and to submit to and serve the truth that transcends all of us.

 

 

III. WITNESSING TO THE TRUTH

 

This leads us to our third and last theme: witnessing to the truth.  In his encyclical, Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII exhorts that it is the fundamental duty of the government to uphold the truth: “A political society is to be considered well-ordered, beneficial and in keeping with human dignity if it grounded on truth.”   Moreover, the encyclical explains that unless a society is anchored on the truth, there can be no authentic justice, charity and freedom.

 

Every government is therefore obliged to serve the truth if it is to truly serve the people.  Its moral credibility and authority over a people is based on the extent of its defense of and submission to the truth.  Insofar as a government is remiss in upholding the truth, insofar as a government actively suppresses the truth, it loses its authority vested upon it by the people.

 

At this juncture, allow me to raise a delicate question: At what point does an administration lose its moral authority over its constituents?

 

First, a clear tipping point is the surfacing of hard evidence signifying undeniable complicity of certain government officials in corruption and injustice, evidence that can be substantiated in court.

 

Hence, during the Marcos Regime, the manipulation of Snap Election results as attested to by the tabulators who walked out of the PICC was clear evidence of the administration’s disregard for and manipulation of the collective will of the people in order to remain in power.

 

During the Erap Administration, the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, claiming that Pres. Erap had falsified Equitable Bank documents by signing as Jose Velarde, was the smoking gun that triggered the rage of our people.

 

Allow me to respond to the same question by pursue an alternative track of argument: an administration loses it moral authority over its people when it fails in its fundamental duty to uphold the truth, when it is constituted by an ethos of falsehood.  When a pattern of negligence in investigating the truth, suppressing the truth and harassing those who proclaim the truth is reasonably established, then a government, in principle, loses its right to rule over and represent the people.

 

Regarding negligence: Do the unresolved cases, such as the failed automation of the national elections, the fertilizer scam, the extra-judicial killings, and the “Hello, Garci” scandal, constitute negligence on the part of the GMA Administration to probe and ferret out the truth?

                          

Regarding covering-up the truth:  Does the abduction of Jun Lozada and the twisting and manipulation of his narrative by Malacanang’s minions constitute

concealment of the truth?  Was the padlocking of the office of Asst. Gov’t Counsel Gonzales who testified before the Senate regarding the North Rail project anomaly an instance of covering-up the truth?

 

Regarding the suppression of the truth: Does the issuance and implementation of E.O. 464, which prevents government officials from testifying in Senate hearings without Malacanang’s permission, constitute suppression of the truth?  Was the prevention of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Senga and six other officers from testifying before the Senate with regard the “Hello, Garci” scandal tantamount to a suppression of the truth?  Was disallowing Brig. Gen. Quevedo, Lt. Col Capuyan and Lt. Col. Sumayo from appearing before the Lower House an instance of hindering the truth from surfacing?

 

And regarding harassment of those who proclaim the truth: Are the abduction of Jun Lozada and the decision to court-martial Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan for disregarding Malacanang’s order not to testify before the Senate examples of punishing those who come forth to tell the truth?

 

By conflating one’s responses to all these questions does one arrive not at hard evidence showing culpability on the part of some government officials, but a gestalt, an image which nonetheless demands our assessment and judgment.  I invite all of you then to consider these two methods of evaluating and judging the moral credibility of any government, the moral credibility of our present government.

 

Allow me to end with a few words about an Ignatian virtue, familiaritas cum Deo. To become familiar with God involves the illumination of the intellect, coming to know who God is and what God wills. But it also involves the conversion of the affect, the reconfiguration of the heart.  Becoming familiar with God entails transforming and conforming my thinking, my feeling and my doing in accordance to the Lord’s, which can only be the work of grace.

 

Familiarity with God thus entails rejoicing in what God delights—the truth; abhorring what God detests—falsehood; being pained by what breaks the heart of God—the persecution of truth-seekers.  Familiarity with God means sharing the passion of God for the truth and the pathos of God whenever the truth and the bearers of truth are overcome by the forces of the lie.

           

On this Second Sunday of Lent, as we contemplate the transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Horeb, we pray that our hearts and minds be so transfigured and so conformed to the mind, heart and will of the Jesus, our way, our life, and our truth.

 

May the Lord bless and protect you, Jun, and your family.  May the Lord bless and guide us all into the way of truth.  Amen.

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