Tell it to SunStar: Through suffering to new life

SUNSTAR columnist Orlando Carvajal has taken time lashing out at Filipino Catholicism. While I can see some good intentions in writing the article, “New life,” the reasoning behind it falls flat, both historically and theologically.

To Mr. Carvajal, Philippine Catholicism is the reason why we can’t rise out of the muck of poverty and inequality. He treats the Catholic view on suffering as counter-productive, keeping the weak and the downtrodden face down on the ground.

What he forgets as a Catholic himself is that not only has the Lord taught us to bear our sufferings patiently (“take up your cross”) but at the same time teaches us to unburden the sufferings of our neighbor (“whatever you did to the least ones you did to me”). Nowhere does Jesus command us to stand idly and do nothing about suffering.

And I disagree when Carvajal asserts that there wasn’t much resistance to the Spaniards during the in-between years. Anyone who went to Araling Panlipunan in school can search for the dozens of mid-colonial revolts by our forefathers. The most well-known revolts were by Rajah Sulayman (1574), Francisco Dagohoy (1744), and Diego and Gabriela Silang (1762). So it’s false when he asserts that there were few revolts against Spain.

I believe that what we should improve on as Filipino Catholics is deepening our faith and translating it into action. For example, we rightfully flock in droves to the Nazareno and Fiesta Senor events, but leave mounds of trash on the streets. Corrupt politicians stand in the front pews of our parish fiestas, but let abuses in power slide.

These are examples of the disparity between our professed belief and our actual actions. It is precisely by putting our faith into practice do we improve our lives and the lives of others. This entails small sacrifices like obeying road laws, honesty in governance, cleanliness, or big ones like bravely standing up for family values or enduring persecution for what is right.

Suffering is unavoidable in life, for this is an imperfect world. But instead of it saying “just bear it,” God uses it to redeem us. What the Lord gives is not just the patience to endure suffering, but also the grace to overcome it, so that we will find rest in this life and the next. --Gerard Biagan

Good move, but...

We welcome the announcement by the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Education of the plan to hire more than 75, 000 teachers for the coming school year as this would help in easing the burden of the already overworked teachers currently in the field. However, we believe that this move should be coupled with the much justified salary increase for all teachers, which is a campaign promise of the Duterte administration.

While the salaries of our counterparts from military and uniformed professions have already been doubled for just a single tranche, ours were pegged to a meager increase of 12 percent divided by four releases.--Teachers Dignity Coalition
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