Friday, June 30, 2006

THE POPE ON THE ROLE OF CHURCH AND STATE

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI gave our President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a copy of his Encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”—the same which he gave to all Bishops much earlier this year.

The Pope writes in that encyclical “The just ordering of society and the state is a central responsibility of politics. As St. Augustine once said, a state which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.” (No. 28a) It is a strong statement worth remembering. This is what Bishop Deogracias Iniguez has quoted in presenting his personal position of siding with the Kapisanan ng Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME). He clearly states that he is not bringing the CBCP in this personal option regarding the issue of impeachment.

Therefore, the CBCP respects Bishop Iñiguez personal option and will not go with the suggestion of Malacañang to sanction him because he also agrees with CBCP statements on Politics and Moral Values.

The pertinent statement of Pope Benedict XVI worth quoting is the following: “The Church’s social teaching argues on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church’s responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church’s immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards understanding the requirements of justice and achieving them politically.

The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which will always demand sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet promotion of justice through the efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.” (Deus Caritas Est, No. 28)

Too often the “Separation of the Church and the State” is invoked. This separation should not be used as an argument against the participation and involvement of the Church in shaping the politics of our country. Concretely this means that the Bishops, Clergy and Laity must be involved on the area of politics when moral and Gospel values are at stake (cf. PCP II 344). The Pope says “the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “It is part of the Church’s mission to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it” (#2246).


Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
Archbishop of Jaro
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

June 30, 2006

5 comments:

The Bystander said...
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Dominique said...

Thank you very much for this statement, Bishop. This is the kind of moral leadership I'm looking for.

magnamus said...

Pope Benedict XVI said "Separation of Church and State is a Great Progress for Humanity".
http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=89360

Blessed Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X already condemned this idea!

"That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. . . . Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State." --Pope St. Pius X, Vehementer Nos, par. 3, 1906

"As a consequence, the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. . . . So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule" --Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, par. 6, 1885

ricelander said...

Today July 11 the CBCP of which you are President came out with this statement: "... as we are undoubtedly for the search for truth we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth" Yet it comes with the clincher "We are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth..." So what process does CBCP propose??? Sadly but you only have added to the confusion! If this is the CBCPs idea of guidance, there is no wonder your flock is getting lost. Someone needs spiritual rescue from drowning and she's pulling down everyone with her, good Bishop. Do something.

The Bystander said...

I'm literally fed up with CBCP's neither here nor there stance in dealing with this sickening political crisis. If they are really God's shepherds as they profess to be, then they should at least have a clear political stand on the issues hounding Mrs. Arroyo, most notably on the question of legitimacy. I cannot understand why they still continue to search for the truth when the truth is right before their very eyes! If ordinary people (whose only knowledge about God is how to pray the Hail Mary) can easily discern that cheating is immoral per se, I cannot understand why they cannot, even from a moral standpoint, categorically declare that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the last elections. While it was so easy for the Catholic heirarchy to condemn Joseph Estrada back then, it is very difficult for them to do the same thing to GMA now.

In relation to the Pastoral Statement above, the Bishops seemed to have developed amnesia in a relatively short span of time. Whereas before, they said that the filing of an impeachment complaint is not against the Gospel, that a just political order is best promoted by a preference for constitutional processes and that resolving the crisis has to be within the framework of the Constitution and the laws of the land so as to avoid social chaos, they now abhor the impeachment process as if it is contaminated with an evil disease. In the first place, impeachment under the Constitution was never intended as a venue for arriving at the truth as some would like to project. It is, first and foremost, a political mechanism for removing a President who is no longer fit to continue serving the mandate given him by the electorate. In the course of such proceedings, the truth may or may not come out. The exercise merely involves the question of whether or not a President still deserves the trust of two-thirds of all the members of the Senate. Besides, why would you entrust the quest for truth on 24 Senators who may have already pre-judged the case? Not even the Bishops can claim to know the absolute and unadulterated truth!

What the CBCP does not realize is that impeachment may be the only constitutional remedy left for removing an allegedly disgraced Presidency. Worse, they failed to recognize that it was Mrs. Arroyo herself who contributed much to the erosion of Congress' credibility in its handling of last year's impeachment. One doesn't have to be a Bishop to know the real score.

What's your alternative then, my dear Bishops, if you say that impeaching Mrs. Arroyo will only be an unproductive political exercise?