A Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Justice and Peace!

The Philippines is a developing country and, as such, its national leadership has been harnessing all available resources, among other purposes, to hasten the process of development.  It may happen that, in the rush towards progress, violations of certain human rights are committed.

Such violations run counter to the principles of truth and justice and have a detrimental effect on freedom.

It is in the light of this situation that the Bishops of the Philippines are issuing this Pastoral Letter, for it is their deep conviction that the Church’s mission of preaching the message of salvation must include the mission of giving witness before the world on the need for love and justice.  While this Pastoral Letter is primarily directed to our Christian faithful in the various institutions of our life, we would like to share our vision with all those who are similarly concerned.


The Church exists for one purpose, to continue Christ’s salvific work through the preaching of the message of salvation (GS, 3 ).  This message contains a call to man to turn away from sin to the love of the Father, to universal brotherhood in Christ and a consequent demand for justice in the world.  (Justice in the World, IPS, Vol. 16, 1971, pp. 382-383).

The Church knows that no renewal in Christian life would be true without a corresponding renewal in the area of justice.  For the simple reason that man’s relationship to his neighbour is bound up with his relationship to God, his response to the love of God, saving us through Christ, is shown to be effective in his love for and service to men.  Christian love of neighbour and justice cannot be separated.  For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely, recognition of the dignity  and rights of one’s neighbour.  Justice attains its inner fulness only in love.  Because every man is the truly visible image of the invisible God and a brother of Christ, the Christian finds in every man God himself and God’s absolute demand for justice and love.”  (Synod, Justice in the World, TPS, Vol. 16, 1971,p. 382.)

Because Christian life and the practice of justice, as understood in the light of Revelation, are one and the same in the context of God’s plan, the Church “has the right, indeed, even the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it.  The Church, indeed, is not alone responsible for justice in the world; however, she has a proper and specific responsibility which is identified with her mission of giving witness before the world of the need for love and justice contained in the Gospel message, a witness to be carried out in  Church institutions themselves and in the lives of Christians.” (JW, TPS, Vol. 16, 1971, p. 383.)

Since love begets justice, the greatest injustice is the refusal of love to God and to our brother.  The foundation of all  justice is the merciful love of God for men in Christ Jesus, who is the center of history and God’s plan (GS 45; LG 42).  Injustice then is the denial of love to God Incarnate (Mt.  24, 31-46 ),  man’s refusal to adore and to obey.  In the same way, injustice is the refusal to love, to serve and to be in fellowship with our brothers.

Justice is authentically Christian when there is a loving conversion of life to the Father, a radical turning away from sin against God and our brother, a sincere openness to love and an acceptance of all men.

If we want to see love and justice in our midst, then we should respect the human person.  This respect for the human person without discrimination of age, sex, social standing, political color, race or nationality, requires the acceptance of the vision of man as the center and master of all creation (GS, 12; PT, 10) because by his origin and destiny he is far superior to all of creation (PT, 11).

As a human person, every man has the right to life and to the means necessary to living it with dignity.  (G, 27; PT, 11 ).  This right, flowing directly and simultaneously from his condition as a human person, is universal, inviolable and inalienable (PT, 9).  To this right is the ineluctable correlative duty of society and individuals.  Without the right to life and to a life worthy of the human person, all the other rights of the human person would be meaningless.  Without respect for human life, justice is inconceivable.

There is however an attempt against human life not only when life of persons is taken (homicide, direct abortion ), but also when, either by action or omission, man’s physical integrity is jeopardized.   Human life, whether our own or others, is a good of which we are merely the adminsitrators and for which we can not arbitrarily dispose of, without violating justice.

It is in the light of respect for human life that we should find the reason why the Church rejects vehemently the road of violence as a solution, the only solution, to contemporary injustices and sufferings.  Rejection of violence does not mean “solidarity with abuses and egoisms, individual and collective, unjust oppressions…  Its whole action aims at bracing the moral forces of individuals and groups, at promoting their education, the elevation of their human and Christian values …  to prepare…  in collaboration and peace…  the desired and necessary social changes.”  (To the Ambassador of Brazil, 14.11.68. O.R. 15.11.68 ).  She knows only too well that the establishment of justice is the most effective way of making violence disappear from our midst.

Neither is a claim for a just cause — defense of the oppressed–sufficient justification to use or advocate “violence and terrorism” as normal means to overthrow the established order, even when that order assumes an open, violent and unjust form of oppression that cannot be overcome or reformed by other means.  (Paul VI, General Audience, 21.10. 70. O.R. 22.10.70).  The more basic reason is stated in Populorum Progressio (n. 31 ):  “We know, however, that a revolutionary uprising — save where there is manifest longstanding tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country–produces new injustices, throws more elements out of balance and brings on new disasters.  A real evil should not be fought against at the cost of greater misery.”

The Church, therefore, because of its evangelical principle of “non-violence” will not accept as even possible a situation where her theological hope would see no other outlet except the destruction of other fellowmen.  For her “the solution to the sad, and even very sad situations,” of our times, is “neither revolutionary reaction nor recourse to violence…  For us, the solution is love.  Not weak and rhetorical love, but love which gives itself…  love which sacrifices itself.”  (Gen. Audience, 21.8.68. O.R. 22.8.68).

For the human person, the communitarian dimension of man is as essential as its individuality.  Man is born, is fulfilled and is saved within a community.  That is why, to live justice is to build the community.

The Christian message requires a love which results in collaboration and solidarity.  “As God did not create man for life in isolation, but for the formation of a social unity, so also it has pleased God to make men holy and save them not merely as individuals without bond or link between them, but by making them into a single people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness.”  (GS, 32).

The Christian should know by Revelation that the true community is the one which is united with the head, Christ, from which flows out through joints and ligaments the vital impulse which supplies the body with energy, ensures its cohesion and produces its harmonious growth.

There is one important term of reference within this community:  the categorical acceptance of the priority of the human person over any other temporal reality. In the ultimate analysis, it is human nature which evaluates results and indicates all the roads to progress.  Social relationships can transform human groupings into a true community only when there is “a mutual respect for the full spiritual dignity of the person.” (GS, 23).

This mutual respect is certainly not merely the avoidance of transgressing the rights of others; it is, above all, the positive obligation of an efficacious love.  Efficacious because it continuously strives to create the proper condition where every man and all men can realize his personal and social vocation (MM, p. 23).

The tendency to join together to attain objectives which are beyond the capacity and means at the disposal of single individuals has given life to a wide range of groups, movements, associations and institutions with economic, cultural, social, sporting, recreational, professional and political ends, both within single national communities and on an international level (MM, 21).  In view of the growing importance of associations, Christians should strive to promote the various forms of associations in order to develop their social responsibility as individuals and to help insure the inviolability of liberty and human dignity which sometimes suffer due to an exaggerated sense of loyalty to the group.

More than ever before, the citizens of the political community should feel equally responsible for the realization of the common good among the various sectors of society (MM, 33).  “The Christian has the duty to take part in the search for developmental models and in the organization and life of political society…  It is for cultural and religious groupings, in the freedom of acceptance which they presume, to develop in the social body, disinterestedly and in their own ways, those ultimate convictions on the nature, origin and end of man and society (OA, 24).

In virtue of these principles of solidarity and its demands, human perfection requires solidarity with the entire humanity.  There is this universal dimension when, within the same country, there is a just equilibrium between works and benefits among the various sectors of production and among the different regions.  In the international order, there is solidarity when “nation meets nation, as brothers and sisters, as children of God” (PP, 43); when “through mutual cooperation, all people should be able to become the principal architects of their own economic and social development;” and when “people, as active and responsible members of human society should be able to cooperate for the attaining of the common good on an equal footing with other peoples.”

The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty, both to men of today and to those who will come after (PP, 17).

The Church is fully aware that if she is to be credible in her preaching of justice, she should precede all others in the living example of a just institution, just in her word, in her sacraments and in her pastoral action.  Service to the cause of unity demands before hand signs of unity.

The Christian community finds in the Eucharist a permanent call to realize that unity in justice, in peace and in love.  For the Church the Eucharist is not only a sign of unity; it is also and above all, a source and cause of unity.  It will be the ultimate contradiction therefore to celebrate the Eucharist and remain at the same time unmoved and unconcerned in the midst of injustices and hatred.

The practice of justice should positively integrate all the relationships of man with authority, his liberty with his social responsibility.  Subsidiarity is precisely the norm by which relationship between authority and liberty are regulated.

“Just as it is wrong to withdraw from the individual and commit to the community at large what private enterprise and industry can accomplish, so too, it is an injustice, a grave evil, and a disturbance of right order for a larger and higher organization to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower bodies (MM, 53).”  Thus Mater et Magistra describes the principle of subsidiarity.

Accordingly, the State should not take away from the parents the right and duty to educate their children, because such right belongs primarily to the parents.  However, in virtue of the same principle of subsidiarity, it is the obligation of the State to complete the educational work when the efforts of parents and other private entities are not sufficient, provided that the parental will is always considered (GE 3, 6).

One of the fundamental duties of civil authorities is to coordinate social relations in such fashion that the exercise of one man’s rights does not threaten others in the exercise of their own rights nor hinder them in the fulfillment of their duties.  Civil authorities should likewise maintain a careful balance between coordinating and protecting the rights of citizens, on the one hand, and promoting them, on the other.  It should not happen that certain individuals or social groups derive special advantage from the fact that their rights have received preferential treatment.  Nor should it happen that government in seeking to protect these rights, becomes an obstacle to their full expression and free use.

Justice and common good are indissolubly linked; this is so because of the condition of human society.  Common good touches the whole man, the needs both of his body and of his soul.  Hence, viewed in the light of the principle of totality, it includes not only those which are economic in character but also those which promote the spiritual well-being of the citizens.  For this reason, Mater et Magistra says that “the common good of all embraces the sum total of those conditions of social living whereby men are enabled to achieve their own integral perfection more fully and more easily.”  (MM, 65)

Therefore, social order has  a dynamic character:  “it is in constant improvement.  It must be founded on truth, built on justice and animated by love; in freedom it should grow everyday toward a more humane balance.”  (GS, 26)  The dynamism of a society in continuous search for new forms of realizing justice, of practicing liberty and of achieving the common good — all these are therefore also in the divine plan:  “God’s spirit, who with a marvelous providence directs the unfolding of time and renews the face of the earth, is not absent from this development.” (GS, 26)

Material reality, because it affects the concrete human existence, should also be the object of justice.  Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in turn the true victim of this degradation.  Not only is the material environment becoming a permanent menace– pollution and refuse, new illnesses and absolute destructive capacity –but the human framework is no longer under man’s control, thus creating an environment for tomorrow which may well be intolerable.” (A Call to Action:  Apostolic Letter of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, May 14, 1971).

One of the demands of justice is the conservation and construction of our physical environment.  Justice requires that man’s earthly city be truly a habitat worthy of man.  As the center and master of all creation, man is the administrator of the things of the world.  Any neglect or outright misuse of the material things strikes directly against his vocation and threfore is unjust.  Man should urgently be convinced that the world was made for him and for his community.

Earthly goods are meant to promote the total perfection of man.  Consequently, the egoistic appropriation of created goods, of the goods of production by individuals or by any group, is unjust.  Material goods then have a universal destiny, and this is the basis of the right to work and to property.

Work is a badge of liberty and not of slavery.  Every man has a right to work and to human conditions for development .  He is entitled to exercise this profession and live from it for himself and his family.  He has furthermore the right to self-defense, to protest against injustices.  But at the same time he has the obligation to be responsible in his work.  For there can be injustice on the part of the employer as well as on the part of the worker:  the first by exploitation, the second by being irresponsible.  (GS 26, 67, 71; OA, 14, 15, 18).

It is unjust to create conditions which result in unemployment or force the workers to accept any employment at whatever price.

While it is true that man has a natural right to property, it is also true that, by its very nature, private property has a social quality which is based on the law of the common destination of earthly good.  “The right of every man to use material goods for his own sustenance is prior to every other right of economic import and so is prior to the right of property.  Undoubtedly, adds Our Predecessor, the right of property in material goods is also a natural right.  Nevertheless, in the objective order established by God, the right to property should  be so arranged that it is not an obstacle to the satisfaction of the unquestionable need that the goods, which were created by God for all men, should flow equally to all, according to the principle of justice and charity.” (MM, 43)

There is also injustice when some of the major phenomena of our time like urbanization, industrialization and utilization of the biosphere are at the service of only a handful of people.  The injustice is then committed not only against the men of today but also against the men of tomorrow.

Urbanization affects society to a large degree.  While it brings with it technology, planning, and industrialization, at the same time, it causes mass exodus from the countryside, concentration of populations, and serious social disequilibrium.  Far from being a means of development, urbanization is turning out to be simple business.  Frequently it becomes an occasion to exploit the natural anxiety of having a house of one’s own.

Our urban plans do not always take into account the proper human environment which permits family growth.  On the contrary, urban plans are used in a number of occasions to force into the people the means of birth control.  Our urban laws — if justice is to be a reality in this field  — should take into account the vital environment.

Industrialization is another modern phenomenon with ambivalent consequences for society and men.  While new forms of culture are brought about, thereby creating certain conditions which enable man to live a life in accordance with his dignity, at the same time, it brings about also a new and worse slavery and exploitation of men. It is just when industrialization leads to a reasonable degree of economic independence for the country.  Finally, industrialization is just when there is respect for the inalienable rights of the person. (OA, 8).

Real action for justice calls for a change in outlook.  To bring about this change, it is necessary to promote an efficacious education to justice:  the overcoming of individualism, the conversion of the heart, the capacity of criticism and reflection about situations, with regard to the dignity of the person, the sense of universal brotherhood, etc.

This education takes place within the family and other social institutions.  It is important to reactivate the principles of justice that are found in the social teaching of the Church.


In this part, “Education for Justice”, we intend to make some remarks of a practical order, in keeping with the doctrine expounded in the previous section, as regards those levels which we deem more expressive and decisive in the life of the people of God in the Philippines.

We have kept in mind the principles and orientations of the Church in Vatican II, of Mater et Magistra  and Pacem in Terris ,  of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, of the Encyclicals, “Populorum Progressio” and “Octogesima Adveniens,” of the Synodal Document, “Justice in the World,” and the “Document on the Evangelization of the Modern World,” for the 1974 Synod.  It is thought that the foregoing reflects the basic contents.

The abovementioned sources are by no means exhaustive; rather they are indicative of action and they lean towards those points more strongly emphasized or more obvious in the Documents.

Some criteria or basic objectives for the development of “Education for Justice” have been indicated; a specific vocabulary to facilitate a better understanding and application of the Documents, has been intended.  Moreover, it should be noted that we have chosen some levels — human groups or institutions  — which better represent and are more influential of our society and are instrumental — or else provide the ground — for an education for justice:  such are the family, the school, the parish community, labor, public authority and the means of social communication.

For each of those levels or sectors the following procedural approach has been followed:  statement of some specific objectives, interrelations with each one of the other sectors or levels; practical suggestions for the education of justice on the respective level or sector.

The following are general objectives of the education for justice:

• Formation as regards the dignity of the human person, with the concept  of the whole of man’s life and the human values in their  transcendental dimension (cfr. GS, 1).

• The christian notion of ownership which implies the right use of riches in keeping with its social dimension.

• That human activity should aim at the common welfare.

• The growth of the Christian into manhood according to the mature measure of Christ (GS, 2; Eph. 4, 13).

• Justice as an expression of charity.


Specific Objectives in the Family Education for Justice

The family is the structural cell of any society; therefore the constitutive elements of both the civil society and the Church are the families that compose them.  Organized society has certain duties towards the family, protecting her identity and enabling her to reach self-fulfillment.  Those duties become rights on the part of the family.  Conversely, the family, as the generative cell of the society, has duties towards both the social and the ecclesial societies.

The specific objective of family education for justice is to create family awareness as to her rights and duties towards both the civil society and the Church.

The individual has a right to set up a family through free and legitimate choice, once a sufficient degree of human and christian maturity has been achieved, as will enable the person to take up the pertinent commitments (cfr. GS 50 ); responsible parenthood also is a personal right.  Each family has a right to education, to improvement and to self-rule; a right to be respected by any government and by any other society concerned, as to her essence, her values and the normal exercise of her activities as a family.

It is a duty of the family to aim at the total welfare of each member and also at the welfare of the whole community — be it household, ecclesial or civil community — and to provide its members with a life in keeping with their human dignity and with their dignity as children of God; also to deal equitably with all members and to avoid discrimination.

The Family Interrelated with the Other Sectors

The family maintains an interrelatedness with other sectors of society.  These sectors are the school, the parish, the labor world, the means of social communication, and the public authority.

The Family and the School

As regards the school, the family has the following rights and duties:  to assume primary responsibilities for the education of the children (GS, 3) and to get integratred into the educative community (GS, 8 ); to choose such a type of education as may, in conscience, be deemed suitable for the children and therefore to demand from the State a fair distribution of economic resources.  (GS, 6); also to demand that education takes the faith into account (GS, 7; DH, 5).

The school should respect the primary right of the family to the education of the children; it should cooperate with the family, acting within its subsidiary capacity (GS, 3), should lend the family its technical knowledge so that the latter may be able to improve her educational task.  It should offer the family practical and adequate means of participation in the management of the educative process.  With a spirit of cooperation the school should consider the christian formation of the students in their homes.

The Family and the Parish

The family is duty-bound to educate the children with a view to the christian community, a community of faith, hope and love.  The parish is expected to encourage the family so that this should be the real educator of the children in their faith.  The faithful have a right to demand spiritual goods for the full development of their faith.  The parish has the right and the duty to defend the basic rights of the family whenever they may come under attack.  The parish should promote and help the family in the latter’s duty to foster the christian communitarian spirit.

The Family and the Labor World

In its relationship with the labor world, it is a duty of the family to educate for work in such a manner that the latter be given its Christian meaning; also to educate in the rightful use of material goods and to encourage habits of thrift.  The family should strike a sense of responsibility, of solidarity and of dialogue with the enterprise.  It should convey social awareness, a sense of service, of understanding and of dialogue in everything pertaining to labor unions.

On the other hand, the enterprise, besides recognizing the dignity, the capacity and the right of the worker to participation and to a just salary, should facilitate the promotion of the human and the transcendental values of the worker’s family.  Labor unions should not limit their action to purely personal matters of the worker but rather should orient him towards the family and family values.  They should favor intermediate institutions such as cooperatives, etc., for the benefit of the family.

The family holds the inalienable right and duty to educate man integrally and to prepare him for a worthy, free, responsible life as a person and as a member of society.

The family should educate man for work.

It is a fundamental binding duty of the family to acquire and own the indispensible  means for the support of its members.

The family has a right to work and to the ownership and administration of her resources.

The family has a right to demand from the world of labour the respect due to the dignity of her members and to the inner essence and nature of the same family.

The family, through example and education should train the members to understand the nature, the dignity, the value and the christian meaning of work, of material resources and their social dimension.

The family should train her members even in their childhood in habits of work and in the right use of material goods; this should be done in keeping with the sex of each person and with the social sphere where they live; the family should encourage her members to seek to promote both their individual and communal well-being.

The Family and Mass Media

As regards its interrelationship with the means of social communications, the family should demand that their dignity be respected, especially considering that the family is consistently decried by the means of social communication.

The family should receive such a formation as to make her perceptive; as to enable her to take an active participation in the process of social communication.  Thus she will be able to defend herself from the harmful influences that come to her through mass media and at the same time she will be ready to exact from those media a product of quality and demand respect for its own dignity.  Otherwise the family will be prey to the vested interests that motivate many of the owners and directors of Mass Media.

The Family and Public Authority

Lastly, as regard the family and public authority, the following are the basic principles that must guide their mutual relationship:  any authority must respect the rights of the family; the State with  its laws and institutions should encourage the legal constitution and the estability of the family; it should never support the breaking of the same through indiscriminate application of the law.  The family should be the first school to teach the right sense of authority as a service; the authority of the family should be viewed in terms of a sevice to the household community in a climate of corresponsibility.

Civil authority should make education accessible to all citizens, while at the same time avoiding monopoly over the school it should foster and accept the cooperation of all the citizens and institutions who are ready to cooperate in the task of education; it should support equitably and without discrimination all schools, public or private, aiming always at a fair distribution of financial support; finally, it should view the initiatives and the creativity of educators with respect and avoid imposition of inflexible rules and uniform programs which only serve to stunt the rich potentials of a creative pluralism and impoverish the school.

Therefore, civil authority should regard teachers as necessary elements in the education for justice of the people; thus civil authority should deal with the teachers with respect in keeping with dignity of their mission; they should be compensated adequately and offered opportunities for professional growth.

Means to Educate for Justice within the Family

The whole doctrine as well as the suggestions and the principles that have preceded should materialize in concrete study guides easy to understand; these should be conveyed through the already existing means within our disposal:  such as preaching, catechetics, systematic teaching, types and methods, education for mass-media, broadcasting, continuing education, work-teams and action teams.

The family should be helped to acquire the true communitarian spirit and to promote vital experiences.

The education of the family should primarily and fundamentally be carried out through a basic formation in love and for love — for love is a unique source of redemption and of justice within the Church.  In order to achieve this it is imperative to prepare the layman, to trust and give responsibility to the laity as the only way to reach every possible milieu.  It is also necessary to integrate the programs of family education of the various schools and colleges in the preacher’s programs and the catechetical schemes.


Specific Objectives of the School as Regards the Education for Justice

The school should foster the true education whose objectives are the formation of the human person towards his ultimate goal and for the good of societies (GS, 1 ).  While imparting an integral education, the school should spell clearly the meaning of justice and the practice of the same; it should foster a spirit of service to the community among the students (GS 5).  The school should direct intellectual as well as technical knowledge towards service to the community; and not solely for personal gain.  In her curricula the school should present a total vision of man so that the student may understand the dignity of the human person, his relations and his duties to the society in which he lives; this will equip him with useful and practical tools that will enable him to contribute towards the harmonious development of the national community (GS 50).

The school should help to develop in the students a healthy critical attitude such as will evolve fair solutions within society and will be conducive to a truly human maturity.  The school should educate in the exercise of political rights and duties; it should train concerned citizens able to share in the service of the community (GS, 5)

The Catholic School and Education for Justice

The Catholic school should educate in the faith and for the faith; in love and for love; it should be a model of education for justice both in her organizational and academic structures (GS, 2 and 8).

The organized teaching of the social doctrines of the church, the training in the true christian social awareness, the direct contact with national realities in order to know and transform them, should ever be present in the school plan.

In order to impart a complete and totally christian education, the school should provide apostolic training even from primary level, for “christian educators are expected also to train their students for apostolate” (AA, 30).

The Catholic school should serve the community; it should be open to dialogue and it should project itself towards the local community which she should animate culturally, socially and spiritually (GS, 8).

The Catholic school must endeavor to make education the servant of youth so that it becomes for him, through assimilation of the best examples and teachings of his elders, a force that would liberate his creative capacity and orientate his vast strength towards the configuration of his country as to contribute towards the strengthening of her national identity and the realization of her full development.  Because it is through the exercise of his intelligence and will that man becomes more truly a man, because it is through them that he enhances his human worth and renders himself relevant and integrally fulfilled, this liberating task of education should also be, for the youth, a personalizing force.  Founded as it is on love and dialogue and counting on the active participation of those who compose the educative community, this it must be, thereby, also communitarian. Being personal and communitarian, genuine liberation consists of coming out from less to more human conditions until the faith which calls all to share in the life of the living God is attained.

The catholic school should create a proper atmosphere conducive to the formation of a christian community (GS, 8).

In view of the great needs confronting education in the Philippines, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the Church calls on the Christians and men of good will to work in unison for the democratization of education whereby all cultural, scientific, and religious values are placed within the reach of all men irrespective of condition and social status.

The School in its Relation to other Sectors

The school, as discussed above, has an interrelationship with the family.  Aside from this, however, it maintains an interrelatedness with other sectors of society, the parish, the means of social communication, with the labor world and, with the public authority.

Interrelations with the parish

The school should seek a working connection with the parish as a means to help educate the students live up to the christian spirit of community imparted by the parish.  The school should be considered as a privileged ground for the development of the pastoral action of the parish since it is the meeting point of young and adult christians with different connections and interests.

The parish expects the school to impart such formation as may be conducive to communitarian life and to an adequate sharing of community goods both spiritual and material.

The Parish should lend its help in the preparation of teachers so that they may be able to live up to the exigencies laid down in the section that deals with the objectives of the school as regards education for justice.

Interrelations with the Means of Social Communication

The school should understand the educational value and the influence of mass media in the modern world.  Consequently, it is imperative to impart to the young a proper formation towards mass-media so that they may approach those Means of Social Communication with a positive frame of mind and with the right critical attitude.  The school should integrate the study of the Means of Social Communication into the curriculum in a practical way in order to enable the students to take advantage of those means all throughout their lives for their own intellectual and spiritual improvement.  Moreover, the school should encourage the youth to actively participate in Mass Media and to avail themselves of such means especially as regards creating public opinion.

The school should recognize that the Means of Social Communication is also adequate to impart knowledge and formation.  Therefore, Mass Media should be organized into an educational system of its own holding the same rights and prerogatives as the traditional systems.  That will provide a swift way to reach the whole population and especially to educate the underprivileged areas.

Both civil and ecclesiastical authorities should direct their efforts towards helping the Means of Social Communication to fulfill the social function they are called to perform and to be ruled by the common welfare in their development and in  their performance.

Public authority should demand respect for the dignity of man and his need for total growth, from mass media owners, publishers, editors, producers, artists, etc.  This should give rise to pertinent services to the community such as:  systematic progress aimed at total education as regards professional training; programs where national values of all kinds are extolled, programs that would encourage general cooperation; programs of civic training.

Mass media educational programs should be supported and especially fostered.

The christian family should be made aware of the fact that the greater bulk of the contents offered at present by the instruments of social communication are by no means favorable to the moral and spiritual structure of the family, that is to say, they have a highly disruptive quality.  Therefore christian families should organize themselves under the leadership of the Pastors of the Church in order to defend themselves against this conspiracy.

The people of God has the legitimate aspiration to demand that the means of social communication be instrumental to their total education as well as honorable channels of their own Christian values and ideals.

The means of social communication enjoy the possibilities of reaching people of different ages, different cultures, and different social conditions; therefore they cannot dispense with due caution and rightful practices, and they must avoid offending the dignity of people by manipulating them as if they were commodities; they should respect peoples’ personalities and idiosyncracies.

The means of social communication should collaborate with the school so that the students may acquire a critical attitude towards the manifold contents transmitted by such media.

Therefore, it is necessary to educate:  in the proper understanding of the language of Mass Media; in order to turn them into instruments of creativity, and in order to convey the realization that the means of social communication constitute an efficient instrument for change of which man should be not only beneficiary but also the agent.

Interrelations with the Labor World

The school should intend to prepare the citizen for work, intellectual as well as manual, by inculcating in him the appropriate work habits and values.

The school, at all levels, should integrate into its curricula such activities as may encourage the development of skills useful to the community and the rational use of natural resources for the common good and to foster attitudes of mutual cooperation and solidarity.

The school should seek connections with local enterprises so that the students can acquire working habits and experience.

The school should complement the family in its task of educating in the sense of the value and the transcendence of work; the school should encourage creativity and responsibility through the performance of work itself; the school should favour the kinds of work that make study possible and compatible with it; she should prepare men for the choice of a profession or trade in keeping with his possibilities and with the exigencies of the respective social milieu.

Interrelations with Public Authority

The school has a right to organization as well as the right to impart the kind of education that is in keeping with such trends that are favorable to and encouraging of the particular characteristics of the Filipino people.

As a necessary instrument for the development and improvement of the people, the school should be able to count on the support of public authority and should be accorded preferential treatment as regards the allocation of public funds.

The school should enjoy a certain amount of autonomy to enable her to provide various solutions and alternatives to meet the needs of the country and different peoples.  Therefore the school should not be subjected to a single, maximal, inflexible program but rather be allowed to developed her own initiatives based on minimal programs.

As promoter of the common good, civil authority should encourage effective cooperation and participation among all the active forces of the country; it should provide adequate channels so that every one may get the benefits of education.  To achieve this is a fair allocation of public funds that should be made according to the following criteria:

a. to  guarantee  the  families  and the  individuals  the  right to choose the type of education;

b. to  encourage  democratization of education and integration of all social classes within every institution;

c. to provide incentives for the institutions which disinterestedly wish to share in the task of educating the people.

Taking into account the existing socio-religious context of the Filipino people and especially the existence of parish organizations, civil authority should respect the same and give the consideration due them as community-serving institutions helping promote the common welfare.

Means within the Scope of the School towards the Education for Justice

It is essential to integrate the social teachings of the Church within the school curriculum.

It is urgent to reintroduce the Catholic social doctrines in all the Catholic schools.  This practice seems to be on the decline nowadays.

The school should train in a communitarian spirit and promote a vital experience of the same.  To that end the Educational community, the Parents’ Association should be created; also courses for teachers of all educational levels should be organized in order to impart the contents and the methodology of the social doctrines of the Church.  Textbooks and study-guides for students and for teachers should be published in keeping with the programs approved by the Bishops for the education for justice.

It is necessary to work out TV and radio scripts on the basis of the programs approved by the Bishops for the education for justice.

Generally speaking it would be advisable that all possible means towards the education for justice follow the programs approved by the Bishops for the purpose; thus the safety of the trends and the criteria to be followed will be assured.  Each means will have to use its own methodology, respecting however, the doctrinal contents suggested in the programs.


Special Objectives of the Parish Community as Regards Education for Justice

The Parish Community has the following rights and duties:

• The right and the duty to proclaim evangelical justice at all levels with a view to educating in the faith, to training for the communitarian life and to promoting the apostolic spirit.  The right and the duty to the free exercise of her ministry for the benefit of the whole community.  The right and duty to provide the spiritual goods necessary for the development of faith for all the faithful without discrimination.  The right and duty to give a testimony to justice in her dealings with her employees, in her communitarian life and in her concern for the poor and  the needy.  The right and the duty to own such financial means as may be necessary for the proper performance of her ministry and to use them adequately in agreement with canon and civil laws.

Mutual Relations between the Parish and the other Sectors

Besides maintaining a relationship with the family and the school the principles of which have been discussed above, the parish also has an interrelatedness with other sectors of society like the labor world, the means of social communication, and the public authority.

Interrelations with the world of labor

Through the whole of her pastoral activity, the parish should educate about the meaning of work, the right utilization of material goods and  on the social dimension of ownership.

Depending on the variety of millieus the parish should emphasize both the responsibility of labor and the sharing in the enterprise.

The local enterprises should be given attention by the parish which in the light of evangelical justice will promote solidarity and dialogue between employers and employees.

The interpersonal relationship created through pastoral activity especially in the working class districts, provides opportunities for the training of the workers in the service-dimension of their work and for the creation of strong attitudes regarding their rightful demands as well as an attitude of understanding and dialogue without neglecting the sense of fidelity to their duties.

The enterprise should help the pastoral activity of the parish by facilitating for the professional and spiritual formation of the workers.

It is the mission of the Church within the parish to educate the People of God in the Theology of Work so that the people may show the world the christian meaning of work.

The parish is duty-bound to guide and to train men in their responsibilities as individuals as well as members of the human family and to foster in them the genuine notion of the transforming power of work for the benefit of the world and also as an instrument of the common welfare.

The Church should convey her social doctrines through all the means within her reach.

Moreover, the Church should set an example and a living testimony in her dealings with her workers, and in the use and administration of her resources.

Interrelations with the Means of Social Communication

The parish has a right to be respected as a community and, therefore, to demand from the instruments of social communication honest information about itself; any false or erroneous utterances about the parish can be seriously damaging.

All throughout its action, the parish should inculcate in the faithful a critical attitude towards the means of social communication thereby enabling them to remain free from any harmful influence that such means may have.

The parish should be present in the process of mass media and should encourage the parishioners to participate creatively in such process.  For this purpose it should be necessary to train Christian Speakers.

Hence, the parish has the right and the duty to use the means of social communications of cine-forums, TV-forums, etc., for educating to justice.

Interrelations with the public authority

The parish should convey the christian meaning of authority as a service rather than a power of dominating and enslaving.  At the same time the parish should teach obedience to the rightful authority.

The parish has a right to be respected by public authority both as to its existence and pastoral mission.

The parish has a duty to denounce — with due evangelizal courage and prudence — the injustices against the whole community or against any of its members done by public authority.

Means within the Scope of the Parish in the Education for Justice

The people have a right to expect from Christians, the genuine example of justice and charity, rather than words, both within and without the Church; the teaching of the doctrine which forms the conscience and guides social awareness; this should be carried out through catechetical activities about the sacraments, and through the liturgy; the true commitment to the people revealed through the permanent concern to promote lay people able to multiply the work of education for jsutice in all possible spheres.


Specific Objectives of the World of Labor as regards the Education for Justice

While keeping into account christian philosophy and theology of work, the education for justice should favor the christian meaning of work through all possible means and at all possible levels.

In the task of education for justice within the labor world the following statements should always be considered:

• Work is dignifying; it is an eminently human activity.  Through work man grows and becomes mature.  Through work he develops both the material world and himself.  Work expresses human personality and human greatness.  Work should not be regarded as a commodity.  Hence the preeminence work should be given over the capital and the enterprise.  Man has a right to work, to look for it, to find it, in keeping with his dignity and his capacity; he has a right to fair pay.  Work should be regarded as a special calling and mission handed down by nature and by God Himself.
Work and ownership:  Work should be considerd as a genuine natural source of procurement and possession of goods.
Ownership and freedom :  Ownership is the basis for a certain amount of independence and freedom.  However, the fact should be realized that the desire to own could go wrong in practice.  Often a man believes himself to be worthier than others not precisely for what he does but for what he owns.
Work binds men together:  Work is also performed for the benefit of others.  Human work creates unity and solidarity among men.
Work and mankind :  Mankind collectively owns the world.  Balance between ownership and common welfare is achieved by a fair distribution of goods.  Justice demands that the resources of this world be reasonably and equitably shared and distributed.
Material goods and the fact of owning them should humanize men:   Ownership holds a risk for man:  the risk of becoming owned by the things themselves and the risk of wanting to own what belongs to others.
Work has a religious projection :  In addition to its human sense, work has a definite religious projection.  Man fulfills himself by developing the world.  Work makes a man’s life meaningful and happy.  To rule the world means to make it human and inhabitable.  This is a God-given task.
Christianity has given a dimension to work :  In the realm of economics, love means fairer distribution of resources, a more reasonable use of the same, a more responsible and better shared solidarity and a more determined and generous help to the needy.

The World of Labor and its Relationships with the other Sectors

The world of labor has an interrelationship with the family, with the school, with the parish as discussed above.  Moreover, it maintains relationship with the means of social communication and with public authority.

The Means of Social Communication are the result of technical work and of a culture belonging to all mankind.  Therefore they should be at the service of all men.

The Means of Social Communication plays a decisive role in the world of work, a role of information and formation which is of the highest importance.

The Means of Social Communication should maintain their independence and preserve their freedom in order to avoid being manipulated by any agents of power such as the capital, the enterprise or the labor force.

Those responsible for mass media should avoid the two dangers threatening them:  to become accomplices of a consumer society which oppresses man through fake needs or else to become instruments of anarchy.

The means of social communication reach both employers and employees; therefore they should collaborate by encouraging reciprocal dialogues, provide for the formation, orientation and information of everyone; and offer opportunities for intercommunication and for expressing the various opposing points of view.

The means of social communication are duty-bound to promote and help general education especially for the underprivileged classes.

The directors of mass media have the duty to promote and take care of the technical improvement and the better professional preparation and practice of the mass media people.

The workers should be aware of their right to voice their opinions through mass media, and that theirs is an active voice within society, so that they may not be possibly exploited.

Interrelations with authority

It is the right as well as the duty of public authority to see the development of a proper employment policy which is affecting all citizens according to their respective capacities; public authority should also evolve a policy where the rights of man regarding work are respected and where the performance of work and the administration of its benefits are in keeping with human dignity; appropriate attention should be given the area of social security and fair distribution and access to material goods; also to fair interaction within the enterprise; to a wider participation of all the different sectors which are part of the enterprise itself; to an honest administration and use of public funds; public authority should also see to it that the right of association is respected; the same holds true for the means conducive to any fair demand.

Civil authority is duty-bound to respect every citizen’s right to work, to diversify work, to further it by providing appropriate mechanism of contributions and loans, and advisory services; to supervise the interrelations existing among the enterprise administration, the financing body and the labor force while at the same time keeping a balance so as to avoid undue State interference.  As the arbiter of common welfare, civil authority  should supervise the preservation of natural resources so that the national economy does not need to depend wholly on foreign aid which, though apparently beneficial at first, may be a dangerous commitment in the long run.  Civil authority should also watch so that the trades, the profession, and the country’s wealth may fulfill their special function and not be exploited simply for private gain and become dehumanized.

Means of Education for Justice as regards the World of Labor

Among the means of education for justice in the labor world the following should be considered:

• Publications on the social doctrine of the Church for the consumption of both employers and employees; also specialized courses on the same topic in order to make it known and deeply understood.  Advisory services offered to the labor institutions, such as unions, associations, etc., in order to orient them in the practice of the principles of social justice.  To celebrate Labor Day with a properly Christian orientation.

It should be realized by those concerned that, in order to further the continuous education of the workers, the very space where they work should be utilized; as to the time, both the enterprise and the workers jointly — should be willing to make available a portion of their time.


Specific Objectives of Public Authority as regards the Education for Justice

Authority ultimately comes from God.  And because it comes from God and is accountable to God, it should be exercised by the one legitimately chosen to wield it in accordance with the laws of truth and justice.  Because it is a duty it cannot be given up without incurring irresponsibility.  Authority should always consider the close implications it bears to justice.

The evangelical notion of authority as a necessary element in any society should be developed and practised.  The just exercise of authority is a service (Mt. 20, 26 ).  “To let things go their way” is to give up that service.  It is the purpose of authority to aim at the common good dynamically (GS, 66).  Authority should be exercised as a service to everyone without any distinction, respecting the dignity of the human being always.  Authority should seek for peace and for true order in society; both are bases for genuine justice.

Coordination of all sectors of society is an important factor in the satisfactory exercise of authority.  To avoid the serious harm that might derive from lack of coordination, all the people who are charged with authority must seek coordination, all the people who are charged with authority must seek coordination among themselves.

Public Authority and Her Relations to other Sectors

The relationships of public authority to the family, the school, the parish, and the world of labor and the principles governing such relationship have been discussed above.

In its relationship with the means of social communication civil authority has the right and inalienable duty to preserve the freedom of thought and of speech through mass-media as demanded for truthful information conforming to justice, charity and reliability, yet within the prudent limits of discretion, honesty and character formation.  It should also see to it that the respect due both to individuals and to groups and institutions as regards their integrity, their national and international reputation is safeguarded; it must also see the equal apportionment of opportunities of access to mass media for all members of society, always within the framework of public order, justice and equality; to demand from the Means of Social Communication the timely correction of misinformation whenever truth, or the reputation of either of people or of institutions has been damaged.

As promoter of society, therefore, civil authority should channel the means of social communication towards the common welfare.

Civil authority should see to it that communication keeps its essential requirements such as:  truthfulness, sincerity, honesty; it should also supervise the quality of mass media so that moral and cultural values may be promoted and respected.

All those concerned and influential in the means of social communication have a serious responsibilty towards the formation of sound public opinion.  Civil authority must respect this responsibility.

Means of Education for Justice as Regards Authority

Public authorities should present a living testimony of justice in the performance of its functions.

Civil authority should gear programs or curricula proposed for the various levels in education, especially those pertaining to social studies and philosophy, towards education for justice.

Civil authority should respect the responsible action of citizens and their participation in affairs that concern their role both in the spiritual and in the temporal order.  Christian citizens, in particular, enjoy this right as a consequences of the existing correlation between rights and duties conferred together with christian initiation in Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.


Specific Objectives of the Means of Social Communication

The Church has a right as well as a duty to utilize all means of social communication for the purpose of evangelization.  The word of God cannot be chained.

It is necessary to promote and coordinate the means of Social Communication available to the Church.  It is also necessary to seek ways to secure the Church’s active and full presence in the human and christian orientation of all mass media and to train the christians in a critical spirit so that they may take advantage of those means and yet not be manipulated by capricious commercial interests or by ideologies alien to the Christian Spirit.

The means of social communications should have as their fundamental objective their educative and cultural function through a genuine formation and an honest information that cannot be limited to the political and economical fields such as has been the case up to the present.

Moreover, the means of social communication should act as integrating elements of the community, ecclesial as well as civil, and should promote the creativity of the person and the community.

This will only be possible when the criteria governing the education for justice is the objective truth, dignity and respect to the person within the framework of charity and evangelical prudence.

The Means of the Social Communication and their Relations with other Sectors

The principle governing the relationship of mass media to the other sectors of society — the family, the school, the parish, the world of labor, and authority have been discussed above.

Means of Education for Justice within the Scope of Mass Media

The presence of  Church in the means of social communication is justified because of the message she is bound to convey and because of the decisive and efficacious influence mass media has today.

“Since the means of social communication (press, cinema, radio, TV, etc.) shape and control modern public opinion to a very great extent, the Church should be present in those fields.  The use of such media generally includes:  a)  pre-evangelization, that is to say the right information about the christian doctrine, christian ethics, relationship between the Church and the world which is prior  to faith;  b) cooperation in the work of evangelization so that catechetical and preaching activities may be accompanied by audio-visual means that will help a better grasping through images as is appropriate to modern culture;  c)  direct evangelization so that this may reach even those spheres or millieus that are normally beyond the scope of the preacher; and this with such a frequency as would not be possible through direct preaching.”  (Synod of Bishops, ‘Evangelization in the Modern World’ part 3, I.e).

Systematic education should include the study and practice of mass media with the purpose of training minds to critical thinking and fostering creativity.  Therefore, the use of audio-visuals should be taken into account when the programs for preaching and catechetics are being elaborated.

It is desirable that the Seminaries, Universities, Colleges, Schools and other educational centers be concerned with the formation of critical thinking as regards the means of social communication.

The Church is aware that she is not alone in the responsibility for the promotion of justice in the Philippines.  We believe, however, that she has a proper and specific responsibility — a responsibility which is identified with her mission of giving witness to love and justice in accordance with the Gospel message.  And this witnessing, if it is to be effective, must be carried out in Church institutions and the lives of all Christians.

May the merciful love of God for men in Christ Jesus, Who is the foundation of all justice, remain with all of you.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:


Archbishop of Manila


September 14, 1978

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross