MANILA, Jan. 19, 2014—Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday called on the lay faithful to usher a cultural transformation that will strengthen the value of integrity from the country’s bureaucratic institutions up to every Filipino household.
In his talk for the Katolikong Pinoy Series with the theme “The Light of Faith in the Heart of the Laity,” Tagle said the culture of corruption emanating in the Philippine society could only be remedied through championing the virtue of integrity in the words and deeds of every Filipino.
“The Filipino culture at present is really needing transformation in the area of integrity. Even the business people are now looking for ways on how we can develop a culture of integrity to replace the culture of corruption that has entered our society,” Tagle said in Filipino during his talk held at the Layforce Chapel of the San Carlos Seminary.
Tagle noted bribery as among the forms of corruption normally practiced in bureaucratic institutions that has to be remedied.
“Bribery is no longer perceived as a wrong doing. The fact that it is being perceived as a ‘standard operating procedure’ is very saddening for when it becomes a widespread practice, it gradually becomes part of our culture,” he said.
“What is even worse is that you will even be criticized when you attempt to correct these misdeeds. This Year of the Laity, we are being asked to enter and transform culture,” he added.
Tagle proposed ways on how to achieve the culture of integrity within the Filipino lifestyle, urging families—especially parents—to become good examples by being true in their words and deeds.
“Imbibe in our culture the value of doing what you say. Start it in your families, within the home, and within the school. People who are good example to others can change culture. Consistency of words and deeds is one area of integrity (that we should observe),” he said.
Condemning dishonesty as the “beginning of the culture of corruption,” he urged the faithful to be truthful and honest in their everyday living.
“Be truthful, be honest…Whenever you commit a mistake, admit it…The culture of dishonesty must be replaced by honesty,” he said.
Tagle also urged the laity to get rid of bias and prejudice, assessing oneself in accordance to competence and diligence instead of connections.
“In doing our tasks, let us be competent and diligent…Our culture has never been really about qualification but connection…Instead of relying on connections, let us do things with competence,” he said.
He added that the faithful must think critically, asking questions that test one’s conscience instead of passively accepting things as they are.
“Ask good questions of conscience…In changing our culture, we have to ask questions, questions that transform our conscience,” Tagle said.
‘Needs of our time’
“These are just small things, but they are the hidden ways by which we can transform our culture. They are the needs of our time,” he said.
Tagle noted that it is important to penetrate the different straits of society—particularly politics, business, arts, science and technology, among many others—in attempting to transform the Filipino culture.
“Christianity has long been present in our country, but why haven’t we achieved this culture of integrity?… Let us try to transform our culture into a culture that is honorable, a culture that respects one’s conscience, and a culture that prioritizes public welfare than self-interest,” he said.
“With the great presence of the laity in our church, there is still hope for us,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza)