EDITORIAL - The fault is not among the sinners


It is only natural for the Roman Catholic Church to be concerned about the spate of killings that has characterized the aggressive campaign of the government against illegal drugs. And it is likewise only natural for it to start asking some questions. But the Church should be very careful in phrasing its questions, as when the spokesman of the Cebu Archdiocese asked who might be responsible for the killings.

A question seeking responsibility for the killings can have many answers. For one, the police have already admitted to many of the killings, particularly those involving people who they claim tried to resist arrest. But there are many other killings attributed to still unknown perpetrators. These killings are suspected to have been carried out by either vigilantes, or by drug personalities themselves. These cases are now being investigated.

But the question seeking responsibility for the killings can cut far deeper than just the wounds inflicted by the drug menace on our country, the Philippines. The question can go much further than just the drug problem itself. It can start probing into the deepest recesses of man's own humanity. And when the question starts probing there, things can get real tricky for the institutional guardians of humanity, among them the Roman Catholic Church itself.

The Philippines is roughly 80 percent Christian, a large chunk of that Roman Catholic. But when there is so much killing, including those that are not counted as statistics in the government's anti-illegal drug campaign but are part of what has become the larger everyday occurrences in such a predominantly Christian/Catholic country, then something must be extremely wrong and far too big and complex to be blamed on just the police or vigilantes or drug personalities alone.

When there is so much killing, it can only mean that there is so much willingness to kill - and the police, the vigilantes and the drug personalities are too small and puny to carry all the burdens. The weight of all the killings is a collective guilt that must be borne by everyone, by every member of the society where such killings happen without compunction.

And that serves up another question, not in answer to the original one, but as a corollary to it: Why is Philippine society now so predisposed to killing? No, that question needs to be asked another way and rephrased, thus: Why has Philippine society, so predominantly Christian/Catholic, a religion that expressly prohibits the act of killing, become so compunctionlessly predisposed to killing instead?

Somewhere in there must be a huge failure that nobody in Christian/Catholic Philippines has the courage or the responsibility to acknowledge, least of all those who are primarily responsible for safeguarding and promoting the commandments.When people no longer fear the commandments and repeatedly sin and violate them, it becomes almost preposterous to ask among the sinners and violators who is the responsible. So, who is responsible? Dunno. But somebody sure fell asleep.

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