Prelate backs ‘anti-crook’ shirt drive

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MANILA, September 20, 2014—A Catholic prelate who became a household name for his fearless stance against government corruption is all-out in his support of the “anti-stealing drive” launched recently by Church-run Radyo Veritas and Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM)’s Public Affairs Ministry, with a T-shirt proudly displaying God’s seventh commandment “Huwag kang magnanakaw” (“You shall not steal” in Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 5:19).

“I definitely endorse it 100 percent, even if it [is] only to shame … especially public officials … to shame them about their dishonesty which has become habitual and enormous. So yes, yes, yes to the campaign,” shared Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz in an interview over Veritas.

The Catholic radio station also came out with a new program, likewise titled “Huwag kang magnanakaw”, aired on Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., which aims to expose the “culture of thievery” in the country and root out all forms of it in the process, involving the least to the most valuable.

According to Cruz the campaign challenges not only public officials, but even ordinary Filipinos to turn their backs on a dysfunctional system that thrives on corruption.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz (Photo: CBCP News)

The prelate, who also chaired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), hopes the campaign will effectively send its message across, impacting particularly those in power who, he said, cannot keep their fingers off the nations’ coffers.

A study conducted by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a US-based non-profit, research and advocacy organization, reports that the Philippine government loses as much as P357-billion due to corruption.

The Church is clear in its stand against theft, the usurpation of another’s goods against the reasonable will of the owner.

Paragraph 2401 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) reads, “The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men’s labor.”

It adds, “For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world’s goods to God and to fraternal charity.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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