When the pope arrived last January, a popular television commentator praised the pope whom he said was so unlike our bishops (obviously referring to Cardinal Sin) who muddle themselves in politics and other social related issues. What this television commentator obviously lack is a thorough knowledge or at the very least, a glimpse of the social encyclicals and apostolic exhortations made by the same pope who lived, worked and struggled in a communist totalitarian society for most of his life. I believe the observation of PCP II holds true to most of us and not just to this television commentator: that there is indeed a need “for knowledge and interiorization of the social teachings of the Church . . . .” (PCP II #289) for it is only through it “that the Christian conscience is formed into maturity.” (PCP II #288)
This may sound a bit ridiculous or at the very least new to us. Why is there a need to interiorize the social teachings of the Church so that my Christian conscience would mature? We have been good and practicing Christians for most of our lives - we go to church, we received religious instructions and know our faith by heart, our charitable streak comes out most often in the face of any human need, from beggars and street children, to victims of natural calamities. Is there still more to my Christianity than these things?
PCP II, based on its reflections of the principles of Vatican II and the social teachings of the popes, answer this in the affirmative. There is more to our Christianity because the new commandment of love inherent in our faith cannot be proclaimed without promoting the authentic development of the human person. This principle includes the giving of a just wage, the upholding of basic human rights like the right to basic housing, and basic commodities like food, education and dignified labor.
This principle includes also the necessity for the laity to get directly involved in the transformation of politics, the need to be aware and to correct the so called “structures of sin” especially the all consuming desire for profit (which includes graft and corruption, profiteering, etc.) and the pervading thirst for power which makes our politics in the country one of the dirtiest. Yes, there is more to Christianity than just education in the faith and worshipping God. Love has to be brought to fore. It must be put to action as an inherent quality of every Christian endeavor.
For this purpose we bring to you in this issue the plans of the Commission on Service in our parish whose area of concern is the social apostolate. It is one of the most neglected task in our duty as Christians. Nevertheless, we must remember that during this season of Advent and in every moment afterwards, we are preparing not just for the coming of the Lord in our personal lives, but more so for the coming of the new era, the fulfillment of the Kingdom where justice, peace and equality to all reign. As Christians we are preparing and working for a whole new world.