On the Way of Truth

(A Pastoral Statement of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila on recent events affecting our people, 11 October 2000)

Peace! We, the Archbishop and members of the Presybteral Council wish to address you on this crucial time of our nation's history. Our reason to express our collective outcry against the `culture of gambling' and a `culture of corruption' enveloping our society, and even touching the highest levels of government, in particular the revered office of the President.

Moral Principles dictate that government exists for the common good in the service of every citizen. All public officials must be imbued with moral leadership, guided by social justice, truth and decency. These are the hallmarks of a leadership needed by our country specially today.

The `scams' which have time and again surfaced in different forms have tainted the office of the president and has undermined his moral ascendancy to lead us. They have gravely affected the public trust and confidence in the present government. The results have been devastating, especially to the poor who are severely hit.

In the light of the gospel and reading the signs of the times, we encourage you to pray and ask the Lord what is His will for us. We must pray and sacrifice because the Lord has promised us that He will heal our land if we turn from our wretched ways and pray. It is not enough to pray. We must act and act together. We encourage our Catholic communities to organize study sessions to keep themselves informed. In the light of all the scandals that have besmirched the image of the Presidency in the last two years, we stand by our conviction that he has lost the moral ascendancy to govern. Without meaning to preempt the results of the investigation about the jueteng issue and corruption case, we believe that in the spirit of delicadeza and for the good of the people, he must relinquish his office and turn it over to his constitutional successor.

We dare not pass judgment on his personal qualifications as these were known by the people even before the elections. We should rather advise our people to see what has happened to the country in the two years that the incumbent President has led the nation.

It would be a heroic act for the President to heed his call. We still trust in his sense of nationalism and patriotism. This appeal comes not from an emotional outrage but as a fruit of prayer and discernment.

We beg the Lord to continue to guide us, to lead us and bless us with leaders according to His heart.

(sgd) Jaime Cardinal L. Sin. D.D.
Archbishop of Manila



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