July 04 - July 17, 2005


Limits of justice

(Editor’s note: The following is an article written by Tito Amora of Bohol on the currently raging political crisis in the country.)

POOR Gloria! She reminds me now of that woman in the gospel caught in adultery and dragged to Jesus not so much looking for justice as to test Jesus, “that they might be able to accuse him.” This is in John 8,3-11.

But when they continued pestering Jesus, he said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.” At this, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest.

When Jesus was left alone with the woman, he asked, “Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” Then Jesus said, “Neither will I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on sin no more.”

This is not only a beautiful episode in the gospel, but one that, I think, is highly relevant to solve the political crisis we are having now.

For goodness sake, for all the anomalies Gloria is suspected to have committed, all things point to the imperative we have of just forgiving her and moving on.

The alternatives to Gloria are, to say the least, not that clean either. They may not have tapes to accuse them, but the people in general know what the goings-on are behind their carefully made-up façade.

That’s the reason why there’s not as much outrage as we had in previous People Power eruptions.

Yes, we will look into the anomalies and give the necessary corrections and penalties. But for now, let’s stop these useless and wasteful bickering, mainly among politicians. We are already bleeding!

We may not find this approach in any political science textbook, but precisely we are now at a juncture where we are challenged to apply this essential gospel value to our national political life.

We have a golden opportunity to grow in our political maturity as a nation and as Christians, if we can just learn to forgive, institute the process of correcting and giving penalties, and move on.

We are all sinners. We all need to be forgiven. No one can ultimately say he or she has not sinned. We just have to learn to forgive also, and focus at the bigger picture and the greater, far more important goals.

Besides, we already know that we cannot insist so much on justice. Somewhere along the way, we have to go beyond it—repeat, ‘beyond’ not ‘against’ justice—and have charity for one another.

Justice takes a very narrow view of things, often driven by our personal self-interests. It focuses simply on particular issues or problems. It involves only some parties. It gives little attention to many other things even more important.

Charity, shown especially in asking forgiveness and in forgiving, widens our perspectives and restores us to the position of considering everything and giving it its due.

In the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, we have the following points to clarify the relationship between justice and charity:

202. “Justice is not merely a simple human convention, because what is ‘just’ is not first determined by the law, but by the profound identity of the human being.”

That’s why, for justice to be more just, its articulation in our law should more and more be deepened in our ultimate identity as children of God, governed by truth coming from God, as well as freedom and love.

Our lawmakers should constantly and progressively harmonize our legal system with the finer demands of morality and of our ultimate identity as children of God. They should not waste time just grandstanding in hot issues.

203. “By itself, justice is not enough. Indeed, it can even betray itself, unless it is open to that deeper power which is love.”

207. “No legislation, no system of rules or negotiation will ever succeed in persuading men and peoples to live in unity, brotherhood and peace; no line of reasoning will ever be able to surpass the appeal of love.

“Only love can animate and shape social interaction, moving it towards peace in the context of a world that is ever more complex.”

Let’s study and understand these truths of our Christian social doctrine that can truly help us to pursue our proper development and to handle delicate political crises.

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Copyright 2005 Ilocos Times. All rights reserved.

Limits of justice

No more EdSA revolts!

... IN & OUT - Lusot sa gusot?

... PAT or TAP - PAT or TAP on the shoulder

... IN-DEPTH - ‘Pot o’ gold’ and people power

... IN-DEPTH (2)- Is bashing heads the only option?

... ANALYSIS - Proclamation more than denunciation

... ANALYSIS (2) - We need to study theology

... STRAIGHT FROM MANILA - Do-or-die environment issues

... Benedict XVI, John Paul II and the Power of Saints

... The rule of law must be upheld in our country