Magmalasakit Para sa Bayan
“As Church, we need to respond not only individually but more collectively to our country’s social problems since they are deeply rooted in the social system.” (PCP-II, #240)
“But beyond its being a social and political resource, the Church is first and foremost a light that illumines a spiritual force that needs to critique the social, political and cultural fields in order to affirm, denounce, purify or reinforce in the light of the World of God.” (PCP-II, #248)
Premised on the above PCP-II Statements, in celebration of the Year of Social Concern within the Advent Season, we issue this Pastoral Exhortation: “Watch and Pray: Magmalasakit Para sa Bayan.” Asked and challenged by concerned people on how to respond to a perceived development of a “constitutional crisis, there is need to respond more collectively to the present crisis produced by the prospect of Charter Change by Administration Congressmen desperately bent on creating themselves into a Constituent Assembly.
We need to be vigilant. The temptation to manipulate and to hold on to power endangers the common good and the safety of the greatest number. We need to watch and pray, to offer sacrifice for the country.
In this spirit, we are proposing a NATIONAL WATCH AND PRAY GATHERING, in all major cities or dioceses in order to express our opposition to the hasty and manipulative way CON-ASS is being pursued or undertaken for Charter Change. Not only do we need to WATCH (critique, denounce, purify) but above all we need to PRAY for the enlightenment of our leaders in government.
It would be good if we can do this simultaneously in the AFTERNOON OF DECEMBER 15, 2006, FRIDAY, close to sunset, the EVE of the SIMBANG GABI. It will be about the same time the activity will be held in the Archdiocese of Manila in Luneta. As suggested, there should be no streamers or flags of any group allowed except streamers with the following message:
NO TO CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
YES TO CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
NO POSTPONMENT OF MAY 2007 ELECTIONS
The message shall be communicated in prayer and songs. No rowdy speeches. As PCP-II #240 has it, we are doing this as Church responding collectively to our country’s social problems, in particular the crisis-laden prospect of a hasty Charter Change.
The gravity of Charter Change and its perceived consequences for our country, the shift in the form of government demand rational discernment, discussion and debate, not in turbulence but in serenity, peace and unity.
In this Advent Season, may we the Filipino people be ready—at any time—to welcome into our hearts, our homes, our government institutions as well as Christian communities, JESUS CHRIST, THE RETURNING KING.
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO
Archbishop of Jaro
December 8, 2006