Among the many understandings and perceptions about the Church, the best thereof is that the Church is the soul of society. This is saying a mouthful. And there is no one better to know and appreciate this distinct reality than the Church herself.
The word “soul” as such stands for everything that is right and good, valuable and honorable, strengthening and inspiring. It is considered as life-giving. It is understood as the purveyor of light, direction and guidance. It leads or corrects. It praises or scolds. It sends either salutary or alarm signals.
Such is the brief and plain understanding of the Church as the soul of society.
It is great to know that while the Church speaks of realities here and now, this She does always with a look at the hereafter and beyond. When the Church wherefore speaks on secular matters, on temporal issues and the like, this she does in the light of faith and morals.
Thus the Church—as the soul of society that enlightens and guides, that encourages and censures— speaks on politics, economy, environment and many other concerns of the times. But whenever She speaks of and acts on these and other temporal matters, this She does only in conjunction with their faith and/or moral dimensions.
The so called EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 were manifestly matters that had something to do with faith and morals: The first EDSA violated the faith on the inherent dignity and basic rights of every human person. The second EDSA trampled upon the imperatives of morals particularly on the matter of carnal scandals and the issue of integrity in public office. Economy and development, environment and the exploitation of natural resources—these are definitely not devoid of ethical dimensions which the Church is obliged to stand and speak up when people violate the standards of what is good, fair and just.
It is good to know that society has a soul: The Church. A soul-less people is a big misfortune.
17 October 2003