Monday, September 04, 2006

social doctrine of the church

“How can one proclaim the commandment of love without promoting the true and authentic advancement of man, in justice and in truth.” (Paul VI, Evangelium Nuntiandi, No. 31) This signal pronouncement in the sphere of the social doctrine of the church simply means that the work of charity includes the pursuit of justice in the context of truth. Injustice and deceit are key vices that demean human dignity. Disregard human rights, belittle human life.

During these times specifically in this country, one of the most errant social realities is precisely the marked absence of real and genuine human promotion. On the contrary, structural cheating, lying and stealing are made standard practices. Even human persons are perceived as export materials for dollar remittances. Exploitation of women and children happens as a matter of course. Public funds abound for an all-out-war against perceived enemies of the government—yet sorely wanting for the cause of education.

These are some of the standing facts in the country that cry for the advocacy of social justice and the work for the reign of truth—all in accord with the demands and spirit of love for neighbor. There is the prevailing but pitiful belief that love of neighbor simply means feeding the hungry and giving medicine to the sick, clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless. All these are great but they form but a part of loving one’s neighbor.

The other complementary part is looking into who and what precisely make people hungry and sick, naked and houseless. Denouncing unjust governance, oppressive potentates, exploitative structures and organizations—these and similar agenda are essential features of the commandment of neighborly love. And these are admittedly difficult and even dangerous ventures. It is much easier to give food and medicine, to provide clothes and shelter are all good deeds—but not enough.

When one sees his neighbor unjustly treated, exploited, oppressed and does nothing about these atrocities, it is ridiculous for him to claim love of neighbor. When someone is cheated, hurt, violated, the commandment of love of neighbor is ignored. When one pretends to see nothing, he wherefore does exactly nothing as well.

Again: There can be no real love, no genuine charity in a country where injustice prevails and deceit reigns.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
8 September 2006