Sunday, July 16, 2006

Decoding the CBCP statements

From the CBCP's pastoral statement.

24. Impeachment.

We wish to make the CBCP position clear and unambiguous on the present impeachment plans:

24.1. We are undoubtedly for the search for truth. Therefore, in all sincerity we respect the position of individuals or groups that wish to continue using the impeachment process to arrive at the truth.

24.2. But as Bishops reflecting and acting together as a body in plenary assembly, in the light of previous circumstances, we are not inclined at the present moment to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth. For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepening the citizen's negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.

Ang daming qualifiers, ano? Ito ang sabi ni Lito Banayo:

And that is what being bishops are about. That is what being men of the Lord is all about. But the majority of our bishops whose business it is to advocate and insist that morality is the North Star of all private and public acts, would now refuse "to favor" the legally-sanctioned way of discovering the truth. It qualifies the process and the mindsets of those who participate in the process, saying that discovering the truth "must be guided by no other motive than the common good".

But is not truth an end to itself? Are our bishops saying that falsehood can ever be "for the common good", and that truth, because it is ugly, can be justifiably hidden by a "concern for the common good"? That is not what catechism lessons or Thomas Aquinas or even the Holy Bible taught us.

Have not our lord bishops, in their collective contemplation, realized that when they qualify the search for truth in terms of whether or not it is productive or "unproductive", or whether or not it "dismays every citizen", or whether or not it "deepens the negative perception of politicians, left, right or center", they stray from their mandate of morality and jump into the realm of pure politics?

Oo nga eh, Lito. It's as if the CBCP doesn't want the truth to come out or something.

UPDATE: The CBCP talks about the necessity of all participants having no motive other than "genuine concern for the common good", but then you hear about this, this, this, this and this, you have to wonder kung gusto ba talaga nilang lumabas ang katotohanan at magkaroon ng hustisya.

Their so called "genuine concern for the common good" statement reminded me of Mike Defensor's "best interest of Mahusay and his family" remark when they forcibly abducted pidal witness eugenio mahusay from Ping Lacson and made him sing a different tune..

From Ellen Tordesillas (Aug. 27, 2003):

EUGENIO Mahusay, Jr. must really know something that would bring down the Arroyo government that Malacanang threw caution to the winds and got him back.

Sen, Panfilo Lacson calls it "abduction". Housing Secretary Mike Defensor claims that they merely "fetched" him from a safehouse in Tagaytay where Lacson put him while waiting to be presented as a witness in the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings on the alleged money laundering activities of Mike Arroyo.

The question now is, will Mahusay be singing a tune different from the one he sang in a presscon last Monday?

Defensor's answer is interesting. He said to let "Udong (Eugenio) take his time."

Defensor said: "The statement that he should issue out should be of best interest of his life and his family. Dapat 'yung salita niya kahit ano pa 'yan, 'yung interest niya, 'yung sarili niya. 'Yung safety ng kanyang kapatid."

At least that's clear. Truth will not be the primary consideration. It's his safety and the safety of his family.

So, if truth will not be to his interest, we will not get it from the statement he will be issuing. I'm excited to hear the tales Malacanang will spin in Mahusay's next statement.

Best interest of his family and brother, huh? Like brother Ferdinand Mahusay getting appointed as presidential assistant for Region 9?

Truth and justice apparently is not their main concern.

MORE: Let's decode another statement from Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who said:

“Lahat naman nandaya, e. Natalo lang ’yung iba sa dayaan.” (“Everyone cheated anyway. Some people just lost in the cheating.”)

Of course, he has no evidence to back it up. but I think I know what he means when he said "everybody cheated". Let's use the Austero Translator. Eto sabi ni Bong:

They say that all they want is to know the truth about whether the President cheated in the last elections. Duh. We already know the truth— everyone cheats during elections in this country and I dare any politician to come forward to claim that he or she is clean. All candidates, and I do mean ALL candidates, violate election laws— from the printing and posting of posters, to the distribution of sample ballots, to vote-buying, etc. So instead of asking the obvious, how about asking a more sincere and proactive question: since we all cheat during elections, how do we make sure that cheating is eradicated from our system?

I can't think of any candidate in the recent elections who did not at least print and post his/her campaign posters during the elections or distribute sample ballots. So that makes them all "cheaters" too huh, just as bad as your president ARroyo?

Of course, when most people talk about cheating, they meant rigging and stealing the elections. I doubt most candidates are into it like his president Arroyo. But it's possible that many administration candidates benefitted from Arroyo and Garci's COMELEC/Military dagdag bawas operation.

UPDATE: Let's hope not all bishops have the same mindset as Archbishop Arguelles and Bishop Emeritus Nicholas Mondejar (who thinks Arroyo is God's gift to the Filipinos).

MLQ3 highlights this part from Mondejar's letter, who quoted the late Redemptionist priest Bernard Haring:

Once a usurper has actually obtained firm control of power in the state, the legitimate authority previously in control is not allowed to resort to violent measure to regain power unless there is a well-founded hope of success and true furtherance of the common good. The mere personal or ancestral claims to authority must ultimately cede to considerations of the welfare of the people as a whole. The common good–in its broadest aspects–is also the decisive factor, the standard by which the people themselves should judge whether to accept the regime of the usurper or not. (Pg.150, the Law of Christ, Bernard Haring, CSSR)

Hmmmm... is this what they meant by "common good" sa CBCP pastoral letter nila?

If so, then wag na lang.

More on Bishop Emeritus Nicholas Mondejar's mindset from MLQ3:
From what I understand of Haring and his writings, his being appalled over how an instinct for obedience cowed Catholics during the Nazi era in his home country, Germany, speaks strongly to us today: we can either be the Mondejars of this world, embracing and justifying the government with a fervor matching Spanish prelates blessing the despotic Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Or we can be willing to be at odds with authority, in the quest to find ways to free one's conscience.

For example, the extract above is a reflection on a dilemma faced by occupied peoples everywhere, and the citizens of a State run by a dictatorship: Would disobedience, or rebellion, if engaged in only by a tiny minority, accomplish anything more than the quicker extermination of opposition, and even greater repression?

The resistance to the Japanese was subject to the same debate: Attack the Imperial Japanese forces all the time, everywhere, regardless of reprisals, or hold back, gathering only intelligence in preparation for the final offensive against the enemy? In France, the same debate took place. In the German context, a similar debate took place over whether to resist Hitler and mount a coup to topple him.

Haring was not against resisting authority; he wanted to ensure that resistance, even to tyranny, should remain non-violent. I don't think he ever meant to have his words used to justify governments that are devoid of legitimacy.

And I tend not to have much patience for people who quote St. Paul to justify total obedience to governments. After all, St. Paul was executed for defying the state, though he was given the privilege, as a Roman citizen, of being beheaded and not crucified. Which I think is the larger lesson when it comes to state power, any state power and people of faith: the state will have the nasty habit of insisting you suffer for your religion.


ellen said...

Thanks, John for digging up that old file. Ang galing mo sa online research!

ellen said...

What a letdown, what these bishops did. But in a way it's good that they have been unmasked. Now we understand their stand on the impeachment. we know where they are coming from.

john marzan said...

Right. Instead of guidance, they delivered a message of moral confussion to their flock.