Wednesday, April 2, 2008

In defense of Bishop Cruz

In defense of Bishop Cruz

I don’t know what all the protest is about regarding Bishop Oscar Cruz statement that sinners who do not acknowledge their wrong doings should not be given the sacrament of Holy Communion. The good bishop also did not mention that it was Madame that he was referring to as far as I can recollect. Although most of the media and anybody who listened in seemed to know the person that the good bishop had in mine. For those of us who studied in a Catholic school that teaching of reconciliation as a necessary requisite for communion is part of basic catechism.

In an earlier column this writer tried to present a Catholic Framework for reconciling and restoring our political order based on an article written by Philpott. The article maintains that a proper acknowledgement of wrong doings and a readiness to face punishment is part and parcel of the whole process of reconciliation. When GMA gave her infamous “I apologize” speech on nationwide TV a few years ago she did not get the reconciliation that she was probably looking for. The people didn’t know what to make of her tearful apology. On the other hand they (the people) probably knew exactly what to make and do with that presidential apology. It’s not that the Filipino people were vengeful and unforgiving (aside from the vengeful mob at Malacanang). It’s just that an apology without referral to the act a person is making an apology for just doesn’t make sense.

The proper sequence for making an act of reconciliation was not followed. First an acknowledgement had to be made before an apology could be issued. The acknowledgement had to be made by an admission on the part of the apologizer or by allowing a proper investigation to take place or both. Because the presidential apology was made during the height of the “Hello Garci” scandal the president should have said something to the effect that she’s sorry for talking to a Comelec commissioner over the phone during the campaign period or for allowing rampant wiretapping as part of management scheme in running the country or both. The president should also have allowed the impeachment procedures to go on, especially if she’s innocent of vote buying and electoral fraud. Undergoing an impeachment case is also part of penance on the part of GMA. Penance and just punishment follow apologies and are essential in rebuilding the political order according to Philpott.

In the case of the ongoing investigations regarding the ZTE-NBN issue, the government should support rather than block the senate inquiries. This is the first order for reconciliation. Before anything else an admission or an understanding (acknowledgement) of the issue must make place. The people have to know if bribes where part of the negotiations between ZTE and China and the Philippine government and the people who claims to represent the latter.

In the case of the Kalayaan islands issue the government must explain why they allowed China and Vietnam to explore our territorial waters and keeping this joint exploration a secret to the Filipino people. To restore the political order and to initiate the process of reconciliation that Malacanang claims to be seeking for, the government needs to explain a whole lot of things. Perhaps this was what Bishop Cruz was trying to say when he said that he wouldn’t give the sacrament of Holy Communion to someone who was not yet acknowledged his or her wrong doings. The proper sequence should be observed in the whole process of reconciliation. On the part of anybody who sincerely wants to have Holy Communion, acknowledgment and atonement for sins must be made prior to the asking for forgiveness. On the part of the government, certain questions must be answered and acknowledgments must be stated by the same. In the case of the people, this includes the Church; forgiveness must be given especially when the acknowledgement and atonement were sincere and freely given. As far as I’m concerned Bishop Cruz said the right things and for all the right reasons.