Particularly on the occasion of this Holy Week – which acquires a special significance, a particular relevance during these difficult times in the Country now submersed in poverty and immersed in disunity primarily on account of a questionable governance with its likewise questionable done acta and on-going agenda – it is quite timely and proper to consider certain key teachings of the “Social Doctrine of the Church” even but considering that this distinct and special Week in the Church calendar is basically about the love of God for man. And rightly so because He made man as a composite of body and spirit – neither of body alone as brute animals nor as spirit alone as angelic creatures.
It is commonly said, and somehow shamefully too, that the “Social Doctrine of the Church” is the “Best-kept Secret in the World”. Though sad to hear and to know, it is difficult to say that such is but a downright falsity specially in conjunction with the People of God themselves – the Laity, the Religious and the Clergy as a whole. And while it can be readily granted that a good number of the members of the Clergy in particular, know much about Philosophy and Theology with their significant and complementary orthodox sciences, the truth remains that the same Churchmen themselves are not that acquainted with the “Social Doctrine of the Church.” Sad but true.
Needless to say, the Church is very much concerned with and attentive to spirituality, religiosity and many other related profoundly moral and supernal matters. But while the Church is concerned with heavenly truths, She is also attentive to earthly realities. And while the Church first and foremost has God in mind, She is likewise much preoccupied with the concerns of man formed by God to nothing less than His own image. In other words, the Church is definitely concerned with the significance of faith and morals specially in conjunction with the life to come. At the same time however, as already noted, the Church is duly also attentive to the import of reason and ethics in conjunction with earthly realities here and now.
And this brings to mind the three main categories of teaching and practice present in the world today. One, the verticalist approach whereby there is but exclusive reference to Divinity and man as most religious sects do – such as the so-called “charismatic” groupings established here and there. Two, the horizontalist perspective where in there is exclusive concern about man and man - such as what basically atheistic movements say and act upon. Three, the genuine and integral Christian vision and mission of the Catholic Church in terms of preaching and acting in the conjunction with God and man in vertical dimension (“Love God”) plus in the sphere of man and man (“Love man”) in the horizontal plane. When combined, the teachings thus distinctly proclaim the exact image of the Cross of Christ in terms of its vertical and horizontal composite.