Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR, SThD
Along the Way
WE live in an era of globalization. The liberal capitalist economic system promoted by the US and European industrial societies and transnational corporations is dominating the world. The underlying liberal capitalist culture of the West has also spread globally. This has become more possible through the means of communication like TV, news magazines and the internet. Movies and TV programs promote the point of view and values of the rich industrial societies―especially the US. Thus, Third World societies like the Philippines have to contend not just with Western economic imperialism. They have to contend with western cultural imperialism. Globalization is not simply an economic and technological phenomenon, it is also social, political and cultural in character.
What are the cultural values and worldview of the Western capitalist societies that are spreading all over the world ― including former communist and socialist societies? Among these are individualism, secularism, consumerism, hedonism, sexual permissiveness, contraceptive mentality, divorce, gay marriage, etc. Abortion is accepted as part of women’s reproductive rights. The right of a woman’s privacy over her body takes precedence over the right to life of the unborn. Religion has no place in the public sphere. All these are part of the culture of modernity. The liberal capitalist values are promoted as the standard towards which all countries should adopt ― otherwise they will be regarded as backward. These values are often anti-life, anti-family and do not give importance to the community. These often promote greed and selfishness. Many of these promote the culture of death that John Paul II spoke about in his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.”
The West is also peddling a neo-Malthusian myth of overpopulation as the source of economic underdevelopment and poverty and a hindrance to economic progress. This conveniently hides the main cause of poverty which is the unjust and unequal distribution of the world’s resources and an economic system built on greed and exploitation― the legacy of centuries of colonialism and imperialism.
The Aquino Government is influenced by the Western economic and cultural agenda ― including the population control policies. The efforts to impose the RH bill can be seen from this perspective. The Church’s opposition to the RH bill is perceived as the efforts of a conservative Church to hold on to outmoded cultural values―a hindrance to progress and develop. Others regard this as an attempt to assert or maintain the Church’s control over Philippine society. Thus, even among many civil society groups, the Church has become a target of criticism and ridicule.
The Church is simply exercising her mission as a prophetic and servant community. This is the mission that the Church exercised during the Marcos dictatorial era and which contributed to the EDSA people power event. The Church has continued to exercise her role as conscience of society over the years. It will continue to do so under the present Aquino administration and in the years to come. The Church will continue to denounce and oppose any manifestation of culture of death and preach the gospel of life. The Church will not remain silent, nor will it stay in the sidelines while a government is bent on pushing policies that will adversely affect the future of our country.
In exercising her prophetic mission, the Church must follow a consistent ethic of life. The pro-life stance includes not only opposition to the RH bill but also opposition to the pro-mining policies of the present government which is contributing to the destruction of the environment. This includes the promotion of genuine agrarian reform, peace advocacy and the adoption of economic policies that benefit the Filipino people rather than foreign companies and transnational corporations.
The Church must continue promoting the Christian values and culture as part of the process of renewed evangelization. Living and witnessing to these values must take place at all levels ― the family, Basic Ecclesial Communities, parish, diocese, regional, national and global.
The Church all over the world must be prepared to exist as a creative minority that continues to be a light, leaven and salt amidst a globalizing Western culture.
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