Monday, March 11, 2013

One for the Earth

The world is changing, and some of these changes may not be good for our kind - the earthlings, humans. Humans always fear the unfamiliar. Human history is filled with discouraging response to things unfamiliar. It will take courage to try to understand what is unfamiliar and to learn until what is unfamiliar may now be familiar. But how do we fear?

Do we fear like a servant? Are we going to be fearful of the punishment our master will surely hurl upon us once our misdeeds come into light? Should our campaign for the environment be centered on the idea that we will suffer the devastating consequences if we will not protect the environment? Ought we to have that servile fear? Are we servants?

No, we should not have to fear like servants. We are not servants of our environment. We are its stewards. Our vocation is to take care of, and have a care of taking, things around us. Yet, we do have reasons to fear and must allow ourselves to be fearful.

How then do we fear?

I propose that we must have filial fear, the fear that a son has of offending the father or a member of the family. Our fear must be borne out of our sense of responsibility and not out of the consequences of our irresponsibility. Our campaign must be in regaining the honor of each individual as faithful steward. We must acknowledge our stewardship. We must affirm our stewardship. It is in acknowledgment and affirmation of our personal responsibility to each individual earthling that we can truly change the environment. We must tell our stories, stories about taking responsibility and responding to the vocation of being stewards to the environment. We must tell our stories proudly, stories that tells the journey of miscreant community to responsible stewardship. We must tell our stories proudly and at length, stories that explain how injury happens in burst and healing seems but a trickle. We must tell our stories proundly, at length and with self-examination, stories that reveal that we too may be guilty even if we speak against the betrayal of stewardship. We must speak - and we must walk the talk.

We show them what is done. We show them where it is done. We show them how it is done. We show them when it is done. Then, we allow them to show the things they have done themselves. We learn from every steward. We promote best practices - but we always take our cue with each steward on the ground. It is them that live with the ground. It is their response that will decide the fate of that ground. We have, at our disposal, the vast and active world of a virtual environment - the internet. We need to get our message across this portal of the current generation. We must learn how best to make use of this new resource to protect the natural resource we have in the physical world. We need to connect and re-connect with people. We must engage them and get them off their seats and on their feet to help us heal the land.

It will take years to reverse the consequences but stewards have only certain years to live. We then must remain vigilant of earthlings who have heard the same call and responded creatively. It is in finding them that we can keep our effort sustainable. Only when we are assured that there will be hands to receive the baton when we passed it on can we hope for change to happen.

Then ... we need not fear for that change when it happens.

Trumphet Call

"Senseless things may be vocal, a flute, for example, or a harp; but even with these, there must be distinctions between the sounds they give, or how can we recognize what melody flute or harp is playing? If a trumpet, for that matter, gives out an uncertain note, who will arm himself for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:7-8)
There is a great clamor for change. Clashing voices resound both in the real and virtual world. Who will you listen to? To an unexamined life, the 'melody' is quite confusing. Who will you trust?  Will it be the voice whom you can agree with yout conscience?  Can you really trust your own conscience?  One's conscience is only as good as it is formed:
"Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1783)

"The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart." (Catechism of the Catholic Church,  1784)
Conscience must then be properly and correctly formed early in life. Without such conscious effort, a malformed conscience is very dangerous - both for the person himself and those around him.

When a Catholic politician speaks of obeying his conscience in conceiving or agreeing to a law, it does not always mean that they have a properly formed and informed conscience. Quite the opposite may be the truth.  When the Church speaks against a law, it is matter of conscience to speak for or against it.  When the CBCP in communion with the Bishop of Rome infallibly determined that such law is against doctrine of morals, the faithful Catholics are called to manifest their faithfulness:
The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively. (Canon Law 749 § 2)

The RH Bill is one such law.  A politician who purports to be a Catholic has a choice to make - assent to tthe judgment of the Church or proclaim 'non serviam'.  There is no gray line separating the two choices.  You cannot remain a faithful Catholic while agreeing and voting for the passage of the bill - no matter what other priests or bishops say.  Those who are in communion with the Pope have spoken.  Take side.  Lukewarmness or fence-sitting is not an option for Catholic politicians.

Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it. (Canon Law 752)
Faithful Catholics are called by their faith to obey the Church in matters of fath and morals.  A matter of delicadeza is then in order.  Renounce being a Catholic or continue injuring the body of Christ (cf 1 Corinthians 12:25).  The Church has spoken.  Catholics must choose. Some of our Catholic politicians have chosen to equivocate.  Faithful Catholics must respond in the spirit of their faith (cf 2 Peter 2:21; Matthew 18:17).  Those who err must be forgiven if they ask to be forgiven to get back in communion with the body of Christ.  Yet, the sacrament of penance and reconciliation demands a contrite heart and complete humility.  Never has this been shown by those who voted for the passing of the RH bill.  Instead, the attack against the Church continues.

Who upholds the teachings of the Church on this matter?  Who stands with her in this difficult times?  Who are faithful to the body of Christ?

Election is nearing - and we are looking for guidance.  Some of our priests have betrayed us, leading some of us astray.  The Church has spoken; yet, some priests abused the faculty lent to them and taught the opposite of what had been handed down by our 'fathers' - the bishops.  Priests have no priestly faculties outside of his bishop.  Therefore, when they disagree and speak against a teaching from the chair (ex cathedra) of the bishop in the pulpit, they are abusing the faculty lent to them.  Beware of these shepherd-helfpers!  Be wary of them or they will feed you to the wolves.

Yet, the problem within the faithfuls is not limited to the priests. The bishops must lead the flock and be proper shepherds. Their 'trumphet call' must clearly resound to all faithful Catholics. Will the apology in the PCP2 document on the contraceptive incident years before repeat itself? Will the bishops again demur for not doing enough to counter unjust laws directly against morals?
"If a trumpet, for that matter, gives out an uncertain note, who will arm himself for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8)
Do not be deceived!  There is a battle afoot. The enemy is working hard, seeking the ruin of souls. Protect them, o bishops!  Name our enemies. Do not leave us to our own judgment.  Even your own priests contradict you.  Let us hear your own voice.  Speak to us.  Feed us with guidance and lend us your strength. Be the shepherds that John 10:11 has called you! There is only one life for you - the life for Christ.