01/02/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Development, “the new name of peace”, is everyone’s responsibility

by Santosh Digal
For the chairman of the Filipino Bishops’ Conference, the government, churches and people should feel a duty towards solidarity not only in times of natural disasters but also in normal times. Cardinal Vidal urges priests not to succumb to materialism.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Promoting development, “the new name of peace”, in the world and in the Philippines requires the “collective intervention and responsibility of government, churches, peace keepers and the entire society,” said Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Chairman and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in his New Year message. The thrust of his message is to urge people to work for development.

According to Lagdameo, development must be seen in terms of food on the table of the poor, secure employment for the millions here in the country, low cost medicine for the families of workers, scholarships for the poorest and decent homes for squatters and slum-dwellers.

Referring to World Day of Peace, the prelate said that peace is a moral imperative.

“Peace,” he said, “is brought about by justice, requiring respect for human dignity and human rights, the promotion of the common good by one and all, and the constant practice in solidarity;” not only in times of natural disasters like the recent typhoons and tsunamis but also in everyday situations.

If Mgr Lagdameo called on Filipinos to adopt a new moral attitude in name of solidarity towards the downtrodden, Card  Ricardo Vidal spoke about achieving inner peace through the renewal of life, urging priest not to succumb to materialism and consumerism.

“How many material things do we need before we have enough?” he asked.

Speaking to some 500 priests and men religious at St Charles Minor Seminary in Mabolo, the cardinal said that priests and bishops should feel as “loyal administrators” of what is placed in their trust. Offers to parish churches, shrines, monasteries and religious superiors “are supposed to go to the institutions, not individuals”.

“My speech may be long,” he said, “but all I have to say to you is that ‘please, remember to tell yourselves that you are priests’.”

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