Pius XII Catholic Center
November 27, 2007
Distinguished and Honorable Senators and Congressmen of the Philippine Legislature, Your Excellencies, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Philippines.
I am privileged to welcome all of you to this second Bishops-Legislators’ Caucus. We had our first caucus last September 4 in the office of and hosted by Brother Mike Velarde. We come in order to share our ideas about a particular national concern: the issue of population and family morality and life.
For your information, Honorable Members of the Legislature, the CBCP has some 33 Commissions, Committees and Offices, probably similar to the way Congress is made up of many committees. Through these Commissions we the bishops are able to relate, have dialogues and conferences with the people on different concerns and issues. Outside of the regular Episcopal commissions, the bishops also relate with businessmen through the BBC (Bishops-Businessmen’s Conferences), with Educators through the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines.
Collaboration between bishops and the PNP has been coordinated on local level by PNP Values and Leadership School of Gen. Samuel Tucay and Fr. Carmelo Diola. Tomorrow, some of the bishops will have a conference with farmers’ groups on the agrarian reform. The farmers’ groups include the Sumilao farmers marching to Manila to appeal for the reclamation of their ancestral land from which they had been evicted.
Thanks to some of our lay cooperators, Mrs. Fenny Tatad, Atty. Jo Imbong and their companions, we were able to bring about this Bishops-Legislators’ Caucus. For this coming together of Bishops and Legislators, we are motivated no less by the Compendium on Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 425 which read in part: “The mutual autonomy of the church and the political community does not entail a separation that excludes cooperation. Both of them, although by different titles, serve the personal and social vocation of the same human beings.
The Church and the political community, in fact, express themselves in organized structures that are note ends in themselves but are intended for the service of man, to help him to exercise his rights fully, those inherent in his reality as a citizen and a Christian, and to fulfill correctly his corresponding duties. The Church and the political community can more effectively render this service for the good of all if each works better for wholesome cooperation in a way suitable to the circumstances of time and place.” (Compendium 425; Gaudium et Spes 76).
Now is the time and this is the place (should I say?) for our “bonding” and exchange of ideas for the service of our people.