Speaking Out Against the Violence in the Philippines
In an earlier post I suggested that “Little gets said about what the bonds of affection are really about: they are about sharing glad tidings and great sadness, hopes for peace and solidarity with the poor, who whom (Word has it) God has a preference. And the bonds of affection are always on some level personal and connective.”
Out of the sadness of the death of Bishop Ramento has come a renewal of hope and solidarity, expressed in two statements from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
The first is a statement titled, A STATEMENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES ON THE KILLING OF THE MOST REVEREND ALBERTO B. RAMENTO by the Prime Bishop of the ECP, The Most Reverend Ignacio C, Soliba, on the death of Bishop Ramento, former Obispo Maximo of the Philippine Independent Church. Bishop Soliba closed the statement with that call which is made to each of us when we contemplate the death of someone who has worked for the cause of justice.
“The Most Reverend Alberto B. Ramento has left us a legacy which we intend to pursue: to work assiduously so that all God’s children, our brothers and sisters, continue to enjoy the basic human rights, the right to a fulfilled life the freedom to be truly human within a humanity measured by nothing less than the humanity of Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Light who shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
The fact that Bishop Ramento has been a long time critic of the political violence in the Philippines and a tireless worker for issues of justice has raised the possibility that his death was not a random act of violence in the context of a robbery, but part of the wider pattern politically motivated actions. His death has also brought renewed attention to the killings that have taken place.
The second statement, by the Council of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, concerns this wider context. Titled “Pouring balm on the sores of our sick society” , this statement calls the government to the peace making task. A core sentence in the statement is, “The Government being the legitimate political authority in this nation must muster the political will to sow peace instead of waging war on its own people under the guise of fighting terror.”
The charge that the governments have “the political will to sow peace instead of waging war on its own people under the guise of fighting terror” is one that we in the United States should make as well.
The courage of those we hold in affection should be ours as well. Such courage strengthens the bonds.