File photo by EPA/Dennis Sabangan
MANILA, Philippines – Launching the Season of Creation that begins Sunday, September 1, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle condemned the pride and greed that led the Philippines to its current “crisis.”
Tagle didn't name names, but alluded to the pork barrel scam that resulted in the detention of alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles.
In a thundering voice, Tagle said in his homily on Saturday, August 31: “Tingnan ninyo ang krisis na ating pinagdadaanan ngayon. Kahindik-hindik ang kayabangan ng mga umaangkin ng hindi naman kanila! Yabang ‘yan, yabang! Y-a-b-a-n-g. Yabang!”
(Look at the crisis we’re undergoing now. It’s horrible to see the pride of those who claim what isn’t even theirs. That’s pride, pride!)
“Pero tingnan ninyo,” he added. “Ang sobrang nagyayabang, saan uuwi? Wala’t wala rin. Ipamumukha sa iyo – you do not own anything! Kaya bago pa tayo mapahiya sa ganoon ay magpakumbaba na. Kasama ‘yan sa Panahon ng Paglikha.”
(But look. What happens to the extremely proud? It all amounts to nothing. The truth stares you in the face – you do not own anything! So before we get humiliated, let us humble ourselves. That is part of the Season of Creation.)
Tagle explained that greed deprives the poor of natural resources.
He challenged the public to reflect: “Paano natin maibabahagi sa lahat ng tao ang kabutihan ng mundo, at hindi para mapakinabangan ng iilan lamang na tao? Ano ang mga gawi na ating nakaugalian na dapat baguhin?” (How can we share with all people the goods of the world, so not only a few will partake of these goods?)
His message for the Season of Creation, a 4- to 6-week period that stresses love for the environment, is consistent with his pro-poor statements on the pork barrel controversy.
In his speech at the Million People March last Monday, August 26, for instance, he emphasized love for the poor amid the alleged misuse of multibillion-peso development funds.
Breaking into tears, Tagle earlier challenged those involved in the “heartbreaking” scam to visit the homes of the poor.
“Mahawakan lang ninyo ang kamay ng mga mahihirap. Siguro naman maaantig ang inyong puso, sana,” Tagle said in his first statement on the pork barrel scam last August 13. (Hold their hands. I hope it will move your hearts – hopefully.)
‘We don't own anything!'
In his homily during the Season of Creation launch on Saturday, Tagle didn’t spare ordinary Filipinos with an individualistic sense of property.
Tagle said: “Katiwala ka; hindi ka may-ari. Huwag kang mayabang. 'This is mine!' Anong, 'This is mine'? Wala tayong pag-aari!” (You’re a steward; you’re not the owner. Don't be too boastful. "This is mine!" What do you mean by, "This is mine"? We don't own anything!)
Like Pope Francis, the cardinal challenged Filipinos to live simply, to allow the poor and those in future generations to partake of the world’s goods.
He said: “Ano ba ang sapat? Mga bata, tanungin n’yo ang mga magulang ninyo ha, baka bumili ng bagong kotse, eh meron na kayong isa. Tanungin n’yo sa tatay at nanay n’yo. ‘Tay, kailangan pa ba natin talaga ng isa pang kotse? Hindi pa ba sapat ang isa? At hindi pa ba sapat ang napakaraming jeep, bus, tricycle, pedicab, at kung anu-ano pa sa ating kalye?”
(What is enough? Kids, ask your parents, if they plan to buy a new car when you already have one. Ask your father and mother. “Dad, do we really need one more car? Isn’t one car enough? And isn’t it enough that we have so many jeeps, buses, tricycles, pedicabs, and other modes of transport on our roads?”
“Mga bata, tanungin n’yo sa nanay n’yo, ‘Nay, bakit magsha-shopping na naman kayo ngayon? Nag-shopping lang kayo nu’ng kamakalawa. Hindi pa ba sapat ‘yon? Dapat nagtatanungan tayo d’yan,” he added.
(Kids, ask your mothers, “Mom, why are you going shopping again? You just went shopping the other day. Wasn’t that enough?” We should be asking ourselves those questions.)
The Archdiocese of Manila holds the Season of Creation from September 1 to October 4, the feast of Francis of Assisi, a saint associated with love for the environment. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.