POSTSCRIPT / July 16, 2009 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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The problem is moral, the solution personal

HERE is a message emailed by a Reader that, I feel, needs the widest dissemination. I have edited it slightly to fit space and removed the references to persons. The original email can be forwarded to those who want it.

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THE PHILIPPINES faces another political crisis. It seems like EDSA People Power of 1986 never happened more than 23 years ago. Emergency rule or civil strife looms once again on the horizon.

This underscores what many have been saying all along — that the political crisis is only a symptom or the fruit of the moral and spiritual crisis in the Philippines. For Christians and especially Catholics, we can be more specific: there is a clear and urgent need for Catholic renewal or reform, a need to turn to Christ in personal conversion.

The ongoing political movements for reforms are signs of a politically and spiritually awakening citizenry. That is good, but the only way to succeed and make the success last for generations is for Philippine society to be morally and spiritually transformed. This transformation must start from personal conversion.

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THIS IS A CALL for a personal conversion, first, among Catholics.

If all or majority of Catholics in the Philippines and Filipinos outside the country undergo personal conversion, they will serve as the salt of the earth for all of Philippine society, and that will be enough to begin with.

If you are calling for reforms in Philippine society but you live a sinful life, first change yourself, return to Christ, go to confession, go to Communion, make amends for your sins, ask forgiveness from those you have wronged, make restitution and return the fruits of your sins, share your wealth and assets with the poor and be an active participant in the Church’s mission of evangelizing society.

Without this personal conversion, nothing you say or do will help change Philippine society for the better because, as a holy man once said, the love of a godless man cannot save society, only the love of God and of Christ can.

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FOR MOST macho Filipinos, the sure sign of moral and spiritual death is sexual immorality.

Pick any politician who is corrupt and if you dig deep enough you will find sexual immorality in his life. This is true of course even among non-politicians, but it is especially true of most corrupt politicians, military and police officers, business leaders, entertainers and even some supposedly religious leaders.

I am writing this from the United States where sexual immorality among political leaders is still regarded as a serious matter. It has caused the resignation of those holding office and the demise of the political careers of many aspiring for office.

The Philippines’ extreme tolerance for sexual immorality among political leaders is a sign of moral numbness, the loss of the sense of sin which then leads to graver sins like corruption and killings.

You can count by your fingers the number of politicians, police or military leaders, even business leaders who are not guilty of major or minor sexual immoralities. It is a status symbol in the Philippines to have mistresses and sexual flings. Prostitution of every kind abounds — from high class call girls and actresses for hire to cheap prostitution joints masquerading as massage parlors and beer houses.

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DIG DEEP into the personal lives of senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, police and military generals, business leaders and the discoveries will expose the extent of immorality in their lives. (The writer mentioned several prominent figures. — fdp)

What the top leaders are doing, those at the bottom are surely beginning to emulate on a smaller scale.

Sexual immorality is not the gravest sin. G.K. Chesterton said that every man knocking at the door of a prostitution house is a man searching for God. Yet sexual immorality or sins of the flesh are the most dangerous because they trigger a separation from God and a loss of morality that ultimately leads to graver sins — corruption, killings, drugs, etc… and death of the soul.

Take it from me. I am speaking from personal experience as a sinner who has been saved only by God’s grace and mercy.

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AMONG MANY of us, sexual immorality is treated in a cavalier way. Let us take a serious look at sexual immorality and struggle to eliminate it from our lives as a first step to personal conversion.

If you are in sin, if you are caught in the trap of sexual immorality of whatever kind, if you have aspirations to change Philippine society, change yourself first.

Your love for the Philippines alone will not save or transform Philippine society. Only God’s love will, only God’s love flowing through each soul which has become Godlike because of a spiritual union with Christ.

You cannot change Philippine society for the better unless you have changed yourself for the better. Personal conversion back to Christ is THE ONLY WAY we will be able to transform Philippine society.

One specific step is to call all politicians, military, police, business and all political leaders to abandon their immoral ways and be converted into union with Jesus Christ. At the same time, we ask the people, all spiritual leaders and the media to expose the immorality in leaders’ lives as a first step in an appeal for their conversion.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 16, 2009)

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