Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On the CBCP Pastoral Statement

The recent CBCP pastoral statement was received with mixed appreciation (or mis-appreciation). Personally, I certainly appreciated its adroit construction and prudent choice of words. If we look at it closely, items 1 and 2 lays the groundwork for the succeeding 4 statements. For me the most significant item is # 3, that they “strongly recommend the abolition of EO 464…”. This is a strong and very significant statement. Normally the Bishops would not go for a prescription that is best left for government and the political community to decide, but there you have it. Protagonists on all sides would probably focus on this one going forward, and this by itself would be a significant development in the search for truth. Then item # 4 further supports item # 3.

But lets take a look at # 5:

“5. Appeal to our senators and the ombudsman to use their distinct and different powers of inquiry into alleged corruption cases not for their own interests but for the common good;”

Appeal? The word appeal in this context is a trifle confusing here. I don’t intend to second-guess the wisdom of the bishops, but let me share what crossed my mind the moment I read this “appeal to the senators and ombudsman...”. Normally you don’t appeal to anyone to do the job that is normally expected of them specially when they are being PAID to do so, right? You just DEMAND it under normal circumstances. But these are abnormal times in abnormal situations and so I think I get the drift. I can sense a certain level of exasperation and frustration behind the word “appeal” here. Its as if repeated demands already failed and now we are on the point of appealing - a different tack in trying to draw positive action.

When repeated demands fail, try appealing.

Think in terms of cajoling, sweet-talking, coaxing, persuading.

Sometimes you get better results with these than being outright demanding.

Take my word for it. I always do it with my own 3-year old kid,

and I'm telling you it works...


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