RP should be a model of justice, says Sorsogon Bishop

MANILA, May 16, 2008―The Philippines, being a Christian country should be a model of justice, in that every individual is accorded what is due him or her by right, said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD.

“Our Christian country should be a model of justice as taught to us by the prophets. The fundamental element of justice is that it gives every person his/her due and what belongs to him/her by right,” said Bastes in a statement.

Bastes, who is also chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Biblical Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) said he is dismayed to see so many Filipinos suffer injustices and deprived of their basic rights as human beings.

“Sad to say, there is a glaring state of injustice in our nation where so many Filipinos remain oppressed, marginalized, destitute and deprived of their rights as human beings who are equal in dignity as children of God,” said Bastes.

The prelate surmised that the cause of rampant injustices in the country is the gap that exists between faith and praxis.

“Perhaps it can be said that the cause of injustice in our land could be the way we practice religion, which is not profound enough, not touching our hearts, consisting only in the observance of external rites,” the prelate said.

This is what prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ precisely condemn. “God what’s us to do if we have true faith in Him manifested by a genuine practice of religion. Only if we fulfill what God requires of us, can we eliminate injustice in our midst,” he said.

Injustice, a situation where human persons are not given what is due to them, causes division, conflicts and even fratricide. The insurgency that has been going in the Philippines for 38 years, the deep political rupture and the pervading economic inequality are among the signs that the country is in a situation of injustice, said Bastes.

“We have been longing for peace, the biblical ‘shalom’, which does not mean only the absence of war or trouble but the enjoyment of all what is good, a foreshadowing of the dawning of God’s kingdom. But peace cannot take place unless we are fully reconciled to God and to all our brothers and sisters,” he said.

For the Philippines to achieve peace, the elusive dream of the land, all Filipinos must learn how to reconcile with each other, forgiving one another from their hearts just as God does.

“But full reconciliation will take place only when we do what God requires us: to do what is right, to show constant love and to walk humbly with Him. May Mary, ‘the mirror of justice,’ intercede for us so that our country will finally enjoy the peace of all Gods’ children,” Bastes concluded. (CBCPNews)

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