Friday, August 18, 2017

FREEDOM

It is not unknown nor unnoted that the freedom claimed by man as something due to his human dignity and by virtue of his consequent human rights, can sometimes turn into license  to his own undoing and/or the misfortune if not disaster of others – men, women and/or children alike.  In the same way, it is neither a secret that not a few people are very conscious and demanding for their right – but practically unmindful of their obligations.  In other words, it is not only right but also necessary to know the nature as well as the intent and scope of human freedom.  For this reason, it becomes not only mandatory but also practical to know both the extent and limit of human freedom according to the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004) that formally and expressly makes the following key observations:

1.  Human freedom is rooted in human dignity – neither due to any mere concession of civil legislation nor by merely any government grant.

But then, the exercise of human freedom demands not only the possession of due knowledge but also the presence of real choices for the agent.  Human freedom is undermined if not in effect denied by mere impulse – base instinct, blind passion, plain caprice – on the part of the agent, not to mention the numbing effect of alcohol and prohibited drugs on the individual concerned. And needless to say, freedom and force – with the latter being moral or physical – make a contradictory pair whereas force is precisely considered as the “Chain of Freedom”.

2.  Human freedom may neither be the legitimate premise nor the acceptable rationale for any unethical or immoral conduct.

Briefly, there is freedom not only to do good – not to perpetrate evil.  Thus it is that the fundamental rationale of freedom is for the personal agent to pursue his own good and to do good to others, to society in general.  The following observations are both certain and certified:  Freedom is harmful when exercised on the premise of falsehood.  Freedom is dangerous when claimed upon dictatorial figures.  Freedom and insanity, amorality, gross irresponsibility are mutually exclusive.

3.  Human freedom for the Church is a reality that is not only significant but also profound; not merely true but also necessary; not simply rational but also ethical and indispensable.

Reasons:  Given his intellectual and volitional faculties together with his spiritual yearnings, the right to and exercise of freedom on the part of man are but in consonance with his singular nature and prerogatives, his signal dignity and transcendence. Such is human freedom that its rightful tenure and exercise are in accord with moral law as well as with the order of nature.  Human freedom accompanies every human person – irrespective of his race, color and creed.  Human freedom is behind the exercise of human rights and the fulfilment of human obligations.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

GRAFT AND CORRUPTION

Without the least intention of offending anyone, much less the option to condemn anybody, the relevant and significant question may be rightfully asked:  Why is it that among the citizens of this Republic, certain public officials who are  precisely avowed to safeguard public welfare and to promote common good, are the ones rather predisposed to engage in graft and corrupt practices to the detriment of their constituents, to the big curse of the poor, to the loss of their own Country as a whole?  So it is that among many other social liabilities, prohibited drug manufacture, sale and use are perceived as matter-of-course.

It is bad enough when the impoverished claim and keep what is due to people who are poor like them and thus live miserable lives.  It is much worst when the wealthy themselves still covet what rightfully belongs to others when they in fact already have much more than what they need.  But it is the summit of dishonesty and hypocrisy when supposedly public officials are siphoning public temporal goods for themselves when such temporal benefits are precisely intended for the common welfare of their constituents, most of whom are wallowing in poverty and dying in want.

There are so many issues, so many questions, so many doubts about the honesty and integrity of public officials, among whom the upright and honest are quite rare and singular.  The truth is that it has come to the extent that practically all public officials are sadly presumed grafters, corrupt and  corrupting personalities.  So it is that right or wrong, true or false, the governed look at those governing them as some kind of the incarnations of graft and corrupt practitioners. This is neither fair nor reasonable but such a negative perception is the rule of the day.  So it is that to name but three phenomena identified with the incarnations of graft and corruption:

There is the markedly detestable, abominable and thus infamous patronage of the so-called “Pork Barrel System” that gave birth not only to its patrons but also no less than its own “Queen”.  Where is the pork? Gone!  Where is the barrel?  Who knows!  What about the queen?  Who cares!  The standing truth and glaring reality is that a good number of the then reigning public officials, specially those in the Legislative Department blindly obedient to the Executive Department, are now not only very quiet but also unseen.

There is the long since horrendous and customary  selling and buying favors at the “Bureau of Customs” which is at times precisely translated as the Bureau of Corruption.  This is not fair whereas there must be still some officers and clerks therein who can be still presumed honest and wherefore innocent.  But it has become incongruous and even irrational to assume that the bad eggs in the Bureau are few and far between.  From downright garbage to prohibited drugs there come and go – for the right fee of course.

There is the  now on-going standard accusation and counter-accusations about too  much wealth in the hands of so few individuals in line with the maxim that guns, gold and goons have been long since identified with Philippine elections – from the barangay to the municipal, from the provincial to the regional up to the national levels.                          

Monday, August 14, 2017

ERRANCY ABOUT MARRIAGE: DEPRECIATION OF THE FAMILY. EGOISTIC MENTALITY.


 Again and again, there are certain individuals, some supposedly honorable public officials included, who are resolved to undermine the nature of marriage, to destroy the unity of the family and thus demonstrate their egoistic thinking and consequent errant value system.  So it is that their composite clamor is that marriage should be soluble at the personal instance of the husband and/or the wife, that the profound painful impact of a broken family upon the children concerned is not worth any serious consideration, and that it is the man and/or the woman who are vested with the egoistic posture of whether to stay married or not.

Furthermore, there are interesting questions that the said individuals and public officials have not yet bothered to answer:  How many marriages may a man or a woman enter into, get out of precisely to get married again and again with someone else – and get out of it again and again as well? How many families may a father and/or mother break apart to the pain and confusion, the shame and stigma of their children?  And considering that marriage is a solemn bilateral conjugal covenant, may individuals with proven egoistic personality constitution ever be allowed to get married at all – and even have a family at all?  So it is worth asking:  Are men and women who break their marriage vows as a matter of course, who decimate their families here and there, psychologically and/or emotionally really fit to actually get married at all?

No less than “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution...”  (Constitution of the Philippines, Sec. 12).  Will those against not only the sanctity but also the welfare or well-being of family life counter the Philippine Constitution in view of their individualistic stance on family life and consequent disdain of the marriage institution?

So it is that “Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life...” (Family Code of the Philippines, Art. 1).  Will those promoting temporary marriages for a man and/or a woman likewise promote artificial birth control – abortion not really excluded – to get rid of family life, to rule out conjugal procreative responsibility?


And so it is that in reality and truth, marriage is a “Covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which by its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses, and...children.” (Code of Canon Law, Ca. 1055 par 1)  A Covenant – akin to a Blood Compact    - is a noble and ennobling, lasting and insoluble option once entered into.  So is it that, properly speaking, individuals with no word of honor, with a given disability to keep and live a solemn commitment should be the last ones to get married at all, much less to have a family.  Those who do not subscribe to the nobility of marriage, to the significance of family life and/or the gravity of conjugal union, should be the last individuals to get married at all.

Friday, August 11, 2017

LIFE AND HOPE

Life and Hope: That life and hope make a real pairing, that there is even hope after death, that after death, there is life – all these admittedly sublime as well as fundamental truths are affirmed and proclaimed by Christianity.  And they are all premised on the faith that subscribes to and accordingly teaches that Christ was born and thus had life, that He died and wherefore lost it, that He rose from the dead and regained life.  Thus stands the core of the Christian faith.  Plants, insects, animals come and go, only to be altogether done and gone.  This is elementary reality, not mere poetry.

After all is said and done, death is the end of life here and now, but at the same time, also the beginning of life hereafter and beyond.  So it is that for faithful Christians, life and hope come together as an inseparable duo.  Death is wherefore but some kind of an intermission for the transit of someone from temporality to eternity, from the natural to the supernatural order.

Life and Despair.  Despair is not merely the absence of hope, but also the malediction of life.  Hopeless living does not only question the reason for being alive but also kills aspirations and initiatives – as a matter of course – for a better life.  Hopelessness is the root cause of many human adversities such as depression, dejection, and desolation.  Despair questions not only the meaning of life but also the reason for being alive.

That is why despair is considered some kind of human capital liability for being the origin of the  many woes of living.  Despair makes life not worth living and wherefore it is alright to deliberately end it – the sooner the better.  Despair denies the intrinsic worth of life – its nature and finality.  Despair makes life an unbearable burden, if not a big curse.  But the truth is that in the last analysis, despair is basically a loud cry for “Help!”

Life and Suicide: The felt arduousness of living, the perceived futility of life, the conclusive uselessness of staying alive, the utter vanity of life – all these personal feelings and convictions can bring about suicide.  And this is the height of despair or hopelessness.  Every suicide inverts reality and truth:  Instead  of treasuring life, this is instead despised and wasted.  Instead of defending  one’s life, the holder wherefore destroys it by himself.  Life and suicide are a fundamental contradiction.

Preference of death to life – the essence of suicide – is contrary to reason and logic, to ethics and morals.  Reasons:  As no one gives life to himself, this wherefore has no right to do away with it.  As one merely receives the blessing of life from God, only its Giver may take it away – not the mere receiver thereof.  In other words, no one – and this means no one – may destroy his life because this is not his to dispose.  Just as he did not give it to himself, he does not own it, he may not do away with it.

Note:  Just for the record:  Strictly speaking, no father nor mother give life to a child.  Each of them already have their respective already living cells.  These they simply put together and so a living baby comes to fore.

   

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

TERRORISM: AN ABERRATION



To bulldoze and bully, to coerce and frighten, to horrify, intimidate and menace, to threaten, browbeat and oppress – not to mention to belittle, to maim and eventually to kill people – these are but some inherent dehumanizing features of the intents and purposes of “Terrorism”.  This is why it is so hard to welcome, to clap, to celebrate terrorists.  To think and conclude that Terrorism is the way of the just and the upright, can be anything but the demonstration of sound reason, can be something but the expression of a humane value system.

In other words, terrorism may not be the sober and rational option of either socialized and/or civilized individuals.  And that is why given the vicious nature, the twisted intent and fatal consequences of terrorism, the Social Doctrine of the Church finds the “Condemnation of Terrorism” consonant with sound ethical and moral principles.  Thus stand the following three more explicit and categorical pronouncements of the said 2004 Social Doctrine.  They may be considered forceful but remains truthful:

1.  “Terrorism is one of the most brutal forms of violence that traumatizes the international community in these times.  It sows hatred and death urges, revenge and reprisal.”

Only terrorists themselves will dare deny the above said realities.  In fact, it is not that hard or difficult to conclude that there is something basically wrong with the thinking process if not the personality constitution itself of terrorists – together with those who admire and applaud them.

2.  “Terrorism is to be condemned in more absolute terms.  It shows complete contempt for human life and cannot be justified whereas the human person is always an end and never but a means.”

To promote, affirm or even sanctify terrorism is inanity if not downright insanity.  To sow fear, horror and dread, to celebrate fright, pains, and even deaths – this is certainly not the way of the sane nor the modus of the sober.  Terrorists can be considered as the victims of terrorism itself.

3.  “Acts of terrorism strike at the heart of human dignity and constitute an offence against all humanity.  No religion may tolerate terrorism, much less preach it.”

A dignified terrorist, a righteous promoter of terrorism, a sane subscriber to terrorist actions and reactions – such are all contradictions of terms, all irrationality incarnate.  More.  The so-called “Religious Terrorism” is a blatant disconnect from genuine faith and sound morals.

All the above-cited rather strong and severe social doctrinal pronouncements of the Church on the intrinsic evil and ingrained viciousness of terrorism, really need not much explanation or elaboration.  They are stern, yes.  They are severe, yes.  But true and realistic, they also are.