REFLECTION: Two earthquakes PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2014 10:58



Two items grabbed my attention these past days. Both commanded intense prayers—of thanksgiving, expiation and petition. One was the first anniversary of the 7.2 tremor that hit my beloved province of Bohol, and Cebu where I’m now assigned.

The other was the Synod of Bishops on Family now going on in the Vatican, which some observers also considered as a kind earthquake. Its mid-Synod report generated quite a heat among many who certainly are seeing things from different angles.

The Bohol earthquake destroyed a lot of churches, but it strengthened also the faith of many. It also brought out the resilient character of the people. It’s a good reason to be happy and thankful, and to still hope that things, and the people especially, continue improving.

It’s different with respect to the Synod. The cracks, potential destruction and havoc it is producing are so very subtle that many do not even notice them. That’s why, that gathering to the eyes of many has become more disturbing.

But there is always hope, and so let’s pray that with the open, candid but respectful discussion the Pope is promoting in this Synod, the issues would be resolved properly, with every voice and observation given due attention and blended, hopefully seamlessly, in one organic, living piece, with the divine spirit animating it.

It’s not an easy task, of course. And so we really have to implore the help of the Holy Spirit to guide our Church leaders to come out with a document that would make everybody happy. That may sound impossible, or at least improbable, but hope always springs eternal. We just have to try to be most receptive to the Spirit’s promptings.

The main issue, to my mind, is how to fuse together the exclusivity of truth and the inclusivity of charity. In this regard, it may be useful to keep in mind all possible leanings and biases people can have and try to craft a document that would be kind of politically or pastorally correct for everyone, not favouring one over the other.

We have to presume that everyone is for God, that everyone is for the truth, charity, justice and mercy, that everyone is a sinner called to become a saint, etc. But we have to get real on how each one is in his concrete condition.

Some can be described as conservatives, others liberal, some saintly and pious, others openly sinful, some are of the intellectual and theoretical type, others are more of the pragmatic kind, some steeped more in tradition, others are of the progressive mould, keen in innovations, etc. We also have straight and gay people.

This is not to mention that people are classified according to age, sex, profession, social, economic and health condition, talents, charisms and other endowments. Some are healthy, others not, others may even be in the ICU. Everyone has to be respected, loved and cared for.

Yes, we have to give more attention and care to the needy, confused and lost but not at the expense of sacrificing those who are well-off, clear-minded and very much in the mainstream of orthodoxy.

A way has to be found to make everyone care for one another, with the better-off giving more to those who are more in need who actually can also give something precious, if intangible, to the better off.

Whatever document or comment or initiative our Church leaders make about his pastoral ministry should be tactful, avoiding anything that can disparage, much less, alienate in any way certain sectors. They have to learn to be most prudent, discreet and delicate especially in their words.

Of course, man will always be man, still haunted by his weaknesses, mistakes and all that, but Christ has already come and redeemed us with his death and resurrection, and all we need to cure what is sick, right what is wrong, heal what is wounded is already given to us, entrusting the Church with the power to dispense those means.

It’s right that Christ’s redemptive work, while already perfect and made available to us, still remains a mystery that can spring surprises to us. But these surprises will never be a denial of what is already known and lived by us as authoritatively taught by the Church, but rather a deepening of those.

We have to revisit the doctrine on graduality and conversion as articulated in “Familiaris consotio” and see to it that it does not degenerate into relativism, which is to make God according to our designs. Everyone needs continuing conversion, you, me, priests, bishops and even the Pope. Let’s help one another instead of quarreling.