01/20/2004, 00.00
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"Revolution of the Rosary" and people's hopes

Manila (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Socrates Villegas, auxiliary bishop of Manila, celebrated mass today in memory of the "First Revolution of the Rosary" of 1986.

On that occasion the archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, invited faithful to gather in Edsa, at the sanctuary dedicated to Mary, Queen of Peace, to force the then President Ferdinand Marcos to resign via theirs prayers, and not violence. 

The bishop underscored during his homily what he defined as the "Second Revolution of the Rosary" in January 2001, when Cardinal Sin urged once again millions of citizens from Manila to gather in the same place to rally against President Joseph Estrada, who was involved in the gambling-linked bribery scandal.

After Estrada resigned, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president, having promised to be tough on political corruption. Yet still, neither Marcos nor Estrada nor any other guilty politician has been brought to trial.  

Meanwhile the country is entering a serious period of crisis, especially in terms of its economy. The unemployment rate is quite high and poverty continues to increase. According to the World Bank, the Philippine national debt is at .3 billion US dollars. The state still depends largely on revenues derived from work abroad by millions of Filipinos.

Msgr. Villegas said he was "worried", "disillusioned" and "bewildered" by the Philippines's current political and economic situation, yet encouraged faithful to not lose hope. Hope, according to the bishop, does not lay hidden in the next political elections nor in the politicians themselves who "are destroying one another" and are "corrupt and dishonest" and "a lost cause for the country". Hope is found in simple, yet "heroic" people who work honestly and anonymously in daily life, without making any fuss. People, he said, are the future of the country, the force that can restore morality to government and public life. They are the little mustard seed that the Gospel speaks about. (SE)

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