Sunday, December 09, 2007

International Human Rights Day

On Human Rights Day our attention, proclamation and prayer reach out naturally to the victims of human rights violation, v.g. the child in the womb, violated children and women, the abandoned, harassed and exploited, the disadvantaged poor, the unjustly evicted from their land, etc… Unfortunately in our country with a democratic form of government, the rights of the people are not always fully respected. And the culprits: among others, public servants and elected officials.

Human rights and the duty to respect, proclaim and obey them are mutually complimentary, indissolubly linked and inextricably connected. On the one hand, the human right of an individual imposes some duty on the part of others. On the other hand, one who claims his own rights, yet altogether neglects to carry out his duties, is a person who builds with one hand and destroys with the other (cf. John XXIII, Pacem In Terris, no. 264).

In our country where millions radically lack the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, education, employment and health security, “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights (even over material possessions they justly possess) so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine No. 158). It means going beyond mere charity, alms giving, and giving only what one no longer needs.

When leaders are hounded by unresolved anomalies and litanies of graft and corruption, it is difficult, almost impossible, to regain trust, credibility and respect which are critical ingredients to effective governance.

If civil society wants to effect moral transformation in governance, they must be reasonably angry, articulate, and persevering in effecting the change they want to see. Most important is the element of spiritual transformation, whose key is conversion to God which starts with ourselves.

4 comments:

Equalizer said...

Mathew 25
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

yogon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deep caring said...

The solution of asking those who have more in life, even those who justly accumulate their wealth, to share what they have to the poor and the oppressed and thereby using their wealth at the service of the common good is indeed a concrete path of action to take.

But this call must first be taken seriously by the Church leaders themselves. They should set the good example before asking the wealthy among us to share, not merely what is extra to them, but all their resources at the service of common good.

The problem with the Church leaders today is that they are noisy "prophets" with no corresponding action. Simply, they lack moral integrity because they are not doing what they are preaching.

If the good archbishop really believe in what he is writing here, why don't the Church leaders start doing what they're preaching. Are the Church leaders willing to let go of their wealth and resources at the service of common good?

Are the Church leaders willing to share their delicious meals to those who are hunry at the premises of their respective parishes? Are they willing to distribute their lands to the landless Filipinos? Are they willing to empty their closets to clothe the feverish beggars at the doorsteps of their Churches?

If they can hardly share their power to the laity in a participatory Church, I see no concrete action for the bishops to lived out the kenosis of their Lord and Savior.

Moreover, what do mean by "reasonable anger?" If the Sumilao farmers are denied of justice, are the Church leaders willing to walk with them going to the Malacanang with "reasonable anger" to protest the injustice done by those in power? To what extent are they willing to be "reasonably angry, articulate, and persevering in effecting the change they want to see" to affect moral transformation?

I was intrigued why you remain silent about the editorial of Inquirer -- Stasis?

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view_article.php?article_id=103448

AdB said...

"When leaders are hounded by unresolved anomalies and litanies of graft and corruption, it is difficult, almost impossible, to regain trust, credibility and respect which are critical ingredients to effective governance."

What are people, the citizenry to do?