Good governance begins with oneself, Tagle tells Filipinos

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Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (Photo: Noli Yamsuan)

MANILA, Oct. 7, 2013—Following the public’s clamor for government transparency and accountability, a high-ranking official of the Catholic Church on Saturday urged Filipinos to do their part in promoting good governance by letting themselves be governed by the personal values of fairness, empathy, stability, and integrity.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that instead of blaming government officials for the current controversies that hound the nation, Filipinos must look at themselves first, noting that they also have an obligation to fulfill in improving the country and themselves.

“Before we look and criticize others to improve their leadership and governance, by the spirit of Vatican II, let us first understand within our own selves the true meaning of good governance,” Tagle said in his talk during the Manila Archdiocesan General Pastoral Assembly (MAGPAS) held at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School.

“Let us assess the governance we do to ourselves—how do I govern my personal life? It is easy to notice the governance done by others to their constituents, but the question is, how about you? How do you govern yourself? Or better yet, what governs you?” he asked the laity.

“Whatever it is that reigns your life, that will be your instrument in governing others…How will you implement good governance if you do not assess what it is that governs yourself?” he said.

Ideals vs. Personal values 

It is through one’s assessment of personal governance that value formation takes an important role in the life of the faithful, Tagle said.

He noted the difference between ideals and personal values, saying that contrary to idealistic perspectives, personal values are formed once ideals are accepted on one’s own volition.

“It is easy to fool ourselves, thinking that we have a lot of values because of our many ideals. But our ideals, they do not necessarily become personal values. Ideals only become values once we accept them on our own volition, making us happy when we live them consistently for they give sense to our lives,” Tagle said.

“To our valued leaders, you govern us, but what governs you? How do you govern your lives? We do not want to hear anymore of ideals, what we want to know are the values operating in your lives,” he added.

Noting that reaching the level of personal values is hard to attain, the prelate noted that “this explains why no matter how many laws we pass, if they remain to the level of ideals, nothing will happen because we fail to live them as values in our lives.”

Tagle said that before demanding a lot from the leaders who govern the country, Filipinos must first live the ideals they are clamoring for.

“We often demand order, but are we willing to organize ourselves? We cry for transparency, but once we get home, do we practice transparency within our own families?” he said.

“Values could not be attained through one’s forceful acceptance of ideals. It must be chosen, and they will only become our personal values until such time that we choose them with joy,” he added.

Chiding materialism

Tagle also chided the prevailing materialism in today’s world as he noted the present generation’s patronization of modern gadgets.

“The first thing that governs us nowadays is the cellular phone. It is just a small machine but it has the capability to run our lives,” he said.

“Why are we letting this small thing govern us? What value, or sad to say, disvalue governs me? Why am I allowing this to happen?” he said.

Personal values

In governing oneself, he reminded the faithful to keep the virtues of fairness and empathy in their day-to-day living.

“Is being fair a value that we live in our lives?…How about empathy, the ability to empathize with our neighbor, hear their cry, understand their pain as well as their dreams, and the ability to learn from them. Do we have that virtue or are we just consumed by ourselves?” he asked.

He also called on the faithful to practice stability in their lives, primarily through standing by the ideologies they believe in.

Above all virtues, Tagle emphasized the importance of integrity, which pertains to the virtue of living the actions implied by one’s words.

“Integrity is when the ideals you talk about turn into values as they become evident in your lifestyle. When this occurs, you become the walking ideal, you become the best manifestation of that value,” he said.

“It is through integrity that our words become one with our actions,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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