Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pope Francis: Wisdom, Discernment, Prosperity and Peace

Paying a courtesy visit to PNoy at Malacañang Palace, Pope Francis wrote in the Guest Book,

“On the President and people of this beloved land of the Philippines, I ask Almighty God abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace,”

Directly asked by the Head of His Church, the Almighty God can hardly refuse the appeal and prayer of Pope Francis. This is why many Filipinos like me are full of hope and optimism that the President and the Filipino people would soon be, if not already so, granted “abundant blessings of wisdom, discernment, prosperity and peace.”

Who was it that said, “So it was all written, so it shall be done”?


In Malacañang, Pope Francis uttered the following words:

“It bids us to break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities. Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart.

‘I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man and woman and child in the life of the community.”

In a Press Conference, Pope Francis emphasized:

“Corruption is the order of the day in today’s world, and the corrupt attitude easily and immediately finds a nest in the institutions, because an institution that has many branches here and there, so many chiefs and vice-chiefs, in this way it’s very easy for it to fall or provide a nest for corruption and every institution can fall into this. Corruption is taking from the people. The corrupt person who does corrupt deals or governs corruptly or associates himself with others in order to do corrupt deals robs the people. “

Indeed, social structures that breed corruption perpetuate poverty. Corruption is robbing the people and taking from the poor families and children. It is stealing the youth’s future in their pursuit of a happier and better life.


PNoy did say, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”  (No corruption, no poverty.” He did advocate that we must follow the “righteous or straight path” (Tuwid na Daan). He did and continues to encourage the prosecution of corrupt officials resulting in the impeachment of a Supreme Court Chief Justice, and detention of some Senators and high government officials. He did pour and transfer billions of pesos to encourage parents/families to send their children back to school.

From the words of both Pope Francis and PNoy, I can discern a similarity of message – that corruption is prevalent in governmental and church institutions. That it is an evil that should be stopped.

Both drew from their experiences with their respective governments and churches. 

Pope Francis as an Archbishop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, tells a story in 2001 when he asked the Chief of the Cabinet of the President at that time,  “Tell me, the aid that you send into the interior of the country, whether it be in cash or food or clothes, all these things, how much gets to the place.” Immediately this man, who is a true man, clean, (said), “35 percent.” That’s what he told me.“

Pope Francis also mentioned in a Press Conference,

“I remember once, in the year 1994, when I had been scarcely named bishop of the Flores quarter of Buenos Aires, two employees or functionaries of a ministry came to me to tell me, “You have so much need here with so many poor in the villas miserias (shanty towns).” “Oh yes,” I said, and they told me “We can help you. We have, if you want, a subsidy of 400,000 pesos.” At that time, the exchange rate with the dollar was one to one. $400,000. “You can do that?” “Yes, yes.” I listened because, when the offer is so big, even the saint is challenged. And they went on: “To do this, we make the deposit and then you give us half for ourselves.” In that moment I thought about what I would do: either I insult them and give them a kick where the sun never shines or I play the fool. I played the fool and said, in truth, we at the vicariate don’t have an account; you have to make the deposit at the archdiocese’s office (chancery) with the receipt. And that was it. “Oh, we didn’t know.”

As Pope Francis was comfortably talking about his experiences to support the existence of corruption in both political and ecclesiastical institutions, he was also quick to say that there are many good people in these institutions.
PNoy used his personal, family and the country’s experiences during Marcos’ Martial Law and the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo years to depict the corrupt practices and the role of the Church during those years.

PNoy hailed the courageous voices of many church leaders in fighting the Marcos abuses. He was critical of the silence of the church regarding the Arroyo corruption charges.  And yet as he earnestly fights corruption, he hears loud criticisms from the same leaders who opted to be quiet during the Arroyo regime.
Pope Francis and PNoy aired their experiences to deliver their respective messages publicly. 

The perennial naysayers expectedly preferred to criticize PNoy. They claim that it was not in good taste to tell on the church leaders to their Big Boss publicly. In short, they want the silence on the Arroyo abuses treated also with silence.
PNoy was also thankful to the “Lord for other kindred spirits like Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Father Catalino Arevalo, and Sister Agnes Guillen, who have always been voices of reason, and who are spiritual people who will always be natural allies, along with so many others.”

Judas received 30 pieces of Silver for betraying Jesus (Matthew 26:15). This is corruption in the worst sense. It will be told repeatedly several billion or trillion more times. So will the corrupt practices during the Marcos and Arroyo regimes.

Not in Good Taste? De gustibus non est disputandum. "In matters of taste, there can be no disputes".

Pope Francis prays for the country’s prosperity. Recovery is expected to bring miracles to the poor families – mothers, children, disabled, and many more.

Pope Francis prays for peace. Mindanao as the Land of Promise is ready for a more permanent peace resulting from the Bangsa Moro Peace Agreement.  The New People’s Army (NPA) and the PHL Government are also now getting ready to negotiate a peace agreement.

“So it was all written, so it shall be done.”

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