Saturday, March 15, 2008


Dear friends,

As a priest, pastor, counselor, teacher, and preacher, I uphold the passionate search for truth in justice and charity. As a teacher of moral theology, when faced with moral dilemmas, such as what the nation is confronted with now, I counsel and uphold the process of moral discernment, especially if what we are tempted to do is another action that has enormous consequences on our total well-being as a nation and people, on issues that pertain to the common good, and on our basic sense of trust and mistrust on institutions, including the Church. Whilst I am sympathetic to calls for moral reform, I am wary of knee-jerk reactions that may come, not from a careful, prudent, and objective reading of events, but from a carefully calibrated and orchestrated media blitz that may stand in the way of due process. I don't ask you to believe all that is contained in what is enclosed. All I ask for, as I always say, is sobriety.

As a moral theology professor, I often speak of the need for all of us to be media prosumers, at the very least ( and not just consumers), if we cannot be media purveyors. In this age marked and marred by so many tempting and seemingly cogent calls of the so-called "media moment" - full of memorable sound bytes and quotable slogans, that end up reducing basically complex events and realities to "one liners" and simplistic issues of "right versus wrong," where media can tend, not only to report events, but also, to create events; where individuals can be made or unmade, reduced to being despiccable non-entities, or catapulted to near divine status, one would be well-advised to pause, and perhaps choose to follow the beat of a different drummer.

I am one with you all in condemning corruption in the strongest possible terms. My personal suspicions resonate with much of what is being noisily touted over the air lanes and the world of print. I am one with you in my desire to get to the bottom of things, uphold moral truth, and I cry passionately for justice, on behalf of the voiceless and countless poor who only stand to lose the most if things go on as before, if the same elitist, exploitative political system goes on its merry way.

But my passionate dedication to truth is not the only value I uphold. I also value the common good. Faced with a moral dilemma as I personally am, given the tempting calls before me of what we have, unfortunately, gotten a bit too much used to doing, that is, mount another people power, no doubt with very valid and legitimate concerns, I am led to weigh "goods" and weigh "consequences." I want the truth alright. I want justice too. But when faced with the far ranging consequences that another people power would most likely cause, I am held back. I want truth, but not at all costs. I want justice, but whilst we all should work together for it, in the spirit of performative hope, I am not too sure, another people power would guarantee both. For last thing I heard is, those issues are as old as Adam and Eve - with their hemming and hawing, with their denials and deflection tactics, with their basically gross act of disobedience to God. That I am sure, you are willing to concede, is also what is basically at stake, and at the bottom of all this brouhaha.

I am not a politician. I am, as our Bishops say, not supposed to tell government and civil leaders what to do. But I am not about to pass off my right, privilege and moral duty to enlighten the people of God, (or at the very least, those whom I encounter somehow in both the physical and cyber world). So, one with our pastors, I offer what I feel is our line of expertise - moral guidance to assist us in the process of discernment. And I would like to echo what the Bishops taught last 26 February. They defined the basic moral issue at stake - the culture of corruption on all levels of our sick society. They called everyone to task: the President, the Senate, the so called "opposition," the Media, and all of us individually and collectively. We are all in this together.

I support the passionate pleas for truth of all sectors in our society, yes ... including all those who happen to ride on the issue because they really are after something else. As a psychotherapist, I know -as everyone else does- what immense damage ulterior motives that are sugar-coated with seemingly innocuous and even valid intentions and concerns, can do to oneself and others. Declared intentions are always good. But the underlying motives beneath those declared intentions that we ourselves may not be aware of, are ultimately more damaging in the long run. I support truth. The Church supports truth. Right now, with too many declared and undeclared intentions and motives from both sides, with both sides guilty of doing so called dirty tactics, with ultimate goals as many as there are groups in the rainbow coalition of forces asking for change, I know I would be well advised, not to jump with the bandwagon of powerful forces, who have already decided on what truth to uphold and to claim, or whose truth to side with.

This is the reason why I call for sobriety. The media frenzy does not support sobriety. They can tend to be inflammatory, like the fiery speeches of those who have stuck their necks out a bit too prematurely with one side or the other. I see lurking dangers. I sense danger in the rapid erosion of trust in institutions. The Senate does not trust the Supreme Court. The legislative department does not trust the Executive. The list can go on. In such an unfolding scenario, given the fractious disunited, and even wrangling picture projected by the only institution that ought to remain trustworthy - the Church, then, precious little shred of human - lesser - hope, remains for us. We might as well throw the rule of law out the proverbial window forever! And then people power becomes the end all and be all of our political lives. It becomes the supreme arbiter of all our political immaturity and a testament, perhaps to what we have for so long been maligned with - a damaged culture.

Thanks for bearing up with this lengthy piece. You owe it to your children and grandchildren to be committed towards helping make this country rise up to the challenges of our mostly self-inflicted problems. We all are part of the problem. We all can be part of the solution

No comments: