A rejoinder to Cardinal Vidal’s statement on Jun Lozada as not welcome in Cebu

We pray to you, O Lord, enlighten your shepherds

The recent statement by Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal on Jun Lozada shows how far astray from truth and justice the shepherds of the Catholic flock have gone.

Jun Lozada is not welcome in Cebu ? With all due respect to the Cardinal, he does not speak for the entire Cebuano populace. According to Cardinal Vidal, Cebuanos are intelligent enough to understand Lozada’s side of the story. True, but intelligence is of the mind and discernment is of the spirit. And we, Cebuanos, are more than intelligence. Far from it, we discern (and also engage in affirmative actions) because the church, as an institution, has been strongly influencing us to form our soundest judgments and profound discernment so that we would become a collective oasis of strength to those who risk their lives in the name of TRUTH. And for the church to remain an important institution that preaches the HIGHER TRUTH and the good news of salvation, it must be keep its fidelity to its core teachings of justice, truth and fairness.Is it fair & just to spurn Jun Lozada and extend special invitation in a recollection gathering to an administration spinmeister, Mr. Cerge Remonde, and referring to it as a way of exactly knowing the truth? Truth and Mr. Remonde is like white and black.

The clergy recollection is not the proper forum to ferret out the truth with only government’s side clarifying the version of truth. For the head of priests to allow his flock to hear only one side is akin to putting blinders on them. The tragedy in this is these very same priests with blinders on have monopoly of the pulpits and, through these, churchgoers trying to find their moral anchor. We ask, how can the blind then lead the blind?

Lozada is not welcome in Cebu ? Cebuanos are interested to know the truth as well. What set us apart from the Cardinal’s quest of the truth is that we are not only concerned with just knowing the truth, we also need to have a frontal encounter with the source of the truth. This is intelligence with discernment.

And who is making Jun Lozada a hero? If the Cardinal does not realize it, the issue at hand is already beyond Lozada. The crux of the issue now is the systemic corruption and greed that hounds this country; the flagrant decadence of moral values and the defeat of righteousness against the evils of society. And whoever risks his life in the battle against evil is necessarily a HERO; he doesn’t have to be declared one nor be created by the people who are in solidarity with his noble cause.

In the face of this crisis of institutions, may our observance of the Lenten Season find deeper meanings. Lent is a time of prayer and penance as a way to focus on God’s grace. This is the best time to take off our righteous robes and to come before God with a new humility, willing to confess our inadequacies. To kneel down with all humbleness before Him and strip ourselves bare of all pretenses and hypocrisies. By doing so, this might put us in a position to hear God in ways that we have not heard Him in a long time. In this, we may find the beginning of a healing for ourselves and for our country.

O Lord, begin with them. Here. Now.

Alliance of Progressive Labor. Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party. Bukluran sa Ikauunlad ng Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa. Center for Participatory Governance. Fellowhip for Organizing Endeavors. 

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