The revolutionary Spirit of Vatican II (Part 3)-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
THE Second Vatican Council was an ecumenical council. Its purpose was to unite the Catholic Church again and to reconcile it with other Christian Churches, like the Protestants, Anglicans, Methodists, Orthodox and Born Again Christians. There were also the patriotic churches, like in the Philippines, the Philippine Independent Church (PIC).
The reason why these Churches separated from the Roman Catholic Church was because of disagreements on doctrine and religious practices.
Through a spirit of dialogue, a mutual understanding can be brought about. Issues, like compulsory celibacy for priests, to have married priests and women priests in the Church, are again under serious discussion and, hopefully, will be resolved in the near future.
Another change that has taken place in the Church since Vatican II is the revival of the social movement within the Church. The social doctrine of the Church is sometimes called the best kept secret in the Church. This social movement started already long before Vatican II, when the encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum’ was promulgated by Pope Leo XIII in 1892.
Another encyclical was issued by Pope Paul II in 1981 ‘Laborem Exercens.’ These encyclicals speak about the human rights of the workers: the right to form a union and have a collective bargaining contract with the employer. When this contract is violated, the workers have the right to go on strike and cause a work stoppage in the company. The encyclicals spoke about the dignity of labor and the right of man on employment and tenure of employment.
The time of Vatican II was a time of emancipation of all sectors in society. Vatican II speaks of human rights in general and specifically on the rights of the farmers and the rights of the rural and urban poor, the marginalized in society. The farmer has the right to own the land that he works on: land to the tiller. The people in the rural areas and those who live in the cities have the right to live on the land where they are staying. Nobody may be called a squatter in his own country. The land is common property and if there is such a thing as private property, there is always a social claim on that property. Even how poor people are, they have the right to a decent living in society. The poor have the right to organize themselves in credit and consumer cooperatives which can give them access to credit and cheaper merchandise.
It was also a time of emancipation of the women in the Church. Women can serve in the Church and can take important positions in the Church. Though there is a separation of Church and State, women should take also important positions in society and in government. Emancipation of women is a ‘sign of the times’.
This is the ‘Catholic Social Teaching’. It is not a dogma but it is an official teaching of the Church and it should be implemented in the Church and in a society that calls itself Christian.
When Marcos declared martial law in 1972, all human rights were suspended. All departments in government were disrupted and violations of human rights were rampant. They were tolerated for the sake of discipline and order in the so called new society of Marcos.
When Marcos was ousted, government institutions should have been re-organized again according to the accepted social doctrine.
The department of labor before martial law had always adhered to the basic rights of the workers. After martial law, contract labor became common practice. Placement agencies took over the responsibility of the employer towards the employees. No labor union anymore and no direct contract with the employer. This is in blatant contradiction to the social teachings of the Church.
Also the private sector, the consumers, should organize themselves into cooperatives so that they can take over the management of the energy and water supply agencies. This would bring down also corruption in government agencies. (To be continued)
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 11, 2012.