MANILA, Oct. 8, 2013—A political and economic issues continue to hound countries around the world, the highest official of the Philippine Church on Saturday called on the faithful to express love and loyalty to their country, noting that simple acts of nationalism may help counter the negative influences buffeting the present generation.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the expression of love for one’s country is a Divine act that completes one’s discipleship, leading a person away from egoism and making him more concerned to the plight of others.
“Our devotion to our country is not only a godly and holy act. Love of country and nationalism, these things do not counter our love for God, church, and faith,” Tagle said in his talk during the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.
“There are a lot of things happening not only in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world that will make us ponder: how is our expression of love to our country? Has the love we have for our nation become part of our obedience to the Lord? Does the faith that we have lead to the openness of our hearts to other people, other nations, and to the whole world?” he said.
Citing the Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes, Tagle said that love for one’s country must lead to the openness of one’s mind to the plight of other people in a global perspective.
“The love that we have for our country must not lead to the narrowing of our minds.
Instead, we have to use it together with the love that we have for other countries since we are all common citizens of the world. We could not just ignore what is happening in other parts of the globe for it bears a significant effect to the way we live our lives,” he said.
“Faith can only be real if you are not filled by self-interest, egoism, and selfishness. It is through this mindset that faith and loyalty to our country, as well as faith and love for the family of humanity really blend and come together,” he added.
Competence, Professionalism, Patriotism
Expressing love to one’s country can be achieved through fair institutional governance, which springs from a culture characterized by competence, professionalism, and patriotism, Tagle said.
According to him, competence and not connection must be the value that rules an organization in order to gain the best results that will lead the country to progress.
“To make the governance of an institution fair and just, we must seek the value of competence among our people. If you want to be part of an organization, do your best by devoting your competence and skill to whatever it is that you are doing,” Tagle said.
Noting that “connection becomes the norm rather than competence”, the prelate chided current trends that display preferential treatment over individuals with strong connections to people in authority.
“The reason why institutional governance fails is because the heads of various organizations are usually the ones with the strongest connections instead of those who are really competent,” Tagle said.
“How can an organization progress if we would only seek those who have influence regardless if they are incapable of doing the job?” he added.
The prelate urged the faithful to develop their skills for the improvement of their respective ministries.
“Work and develop your competence. This is a challenge for all of us…Be the best that you can and develop your ministry,” he said.
Tagle also emphasized the importance of professionalism, noting that individuals must learn to abide by operational rules to maintain stability and order in an organization.
“Disorder and corruption happen because rules are applied in a selective manner—those who have connections are usually exempted, thus resulting to unprofessionalism,” he said.
“It is even more saddening to see instances wherein those who made the rules are the very first ones to violate them,” he added.
Tagle also urged the laity to keep the virtue of patriotism in whatever degree they possibly can.
“Do things for the improvement of others and for the honor of your country, no matter if it just involves a small sari-sari store or a large-scale business,” he said.
“Consciously, improve your work not for the sake of earning more, getting a higher rating, or becoming more popular. Rather, do what is good so your country may be praised. So wherever you go, people will realize that Filipinos are honorable,” he added.
“This is not just all about throwing blame or criticisms. This is an imperative of faith, let us help each other,” Tagle said. (Jennifer Orillaza)