Statement of the Administrative Council of the Catholic Welfare Organization on Adherence to Religion
The Church exercises the teaching authority conferred upon it by its Divine Founder through its office of preaching the doctrines of our Faith, and, conformably to Our Lord’s precept, it extends this trust far afield to reach individual souls through the medium of Catholic education. Hence it is that Catholic education, in the furtherance of this commission, trains men not only for the pursuit of happiness in this life, but especially for eternal happiness in the life to come.
This consideration has time and again prompted us to express our pastoral solicitude for the spiritual welfare of those of our children who, forced by circumstances from enjoying the benefits of Catholic education, grow up woefully ignorant of religious truths and fundamental moral principles. No amount of training in “good manners” or “ethical culture” can supply this need as no degree of morality is possible to the exclusion of religious principles.
Our government authorities, mindful of our people’s welfare, have sought to remedy this situation by providing for more effective implementation of the optional religious instruction in public schools as granted by our Constitution and laws. Hence we find it opportune to make public our heartfelt gratitude to the Honorable Secretary of Education for his Department Order No. 5, Series of 1955, dated May 3, 1955, designed to bring about fuller implementation of optional religious instruction as consecrated by the laws of the land. It is an Order calculated to aid in producing straight-thinking, morally upright and God-fearing citizens of the nation.
There is at present a movement that styles itself “Moral Rearmament” (MRA). This movement is non-sectarian and has ambiguous religious principles. Its message consists in the acceptance of four “absolutes” imposed by conscience: absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love. Honest as these intentions may be, it is however significant that this movement excludes religion from its scheme. In this omission it finds no basis on which to build the pillars of its so-called “absolutes”. For the few non-Catholics in the Philippines, this movement may serve a useful purpose. Catholics, however, who compose the majority of our nation, will find nothing in this movement which is not already contained, far more perfectly, in the doctrines of Jesus Christ as interpreted by the Catholic Church which He founded.
If moral re-armament means anything, it means this: that by constant self-discipline and self-denial we strengthen ourselves against temptations, and by assiduous prayer and the frequent reception of the sacraments we draw down upon ourselves the supernatural grace by which alone we can triumph over the enemies of God and society. Peace in the world can come only if we establish peace within ourselves; and for us Catholics, this means establishing in our hearts the reign of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Let us seek, then, in the inexhaustible treasures of our Faith those tried and tested means of salvation which others, less fortunate than ourselves, try to glean with much effort and little profit the barren wisdom of the world.
Given in Manila, on the 18th day of June, in the year of Our Lord, 1955.
(Sgd.)+RUFINO J. SANTOS, D.D.
Archbishop of Manila
(Sgd.)+LINO GONZAGA, D.D.
Bishop of Palo
(Sgd.)+ALEJANDRO OLALIA, D.D.
Bishop of Lipa
(Sgd.)+JULIO R. ROSALES, D.D.
Archbishop of Cebu
(Sgd.)+MANUEL YAP, D.D.
Bishop of Bacolod
(Sgd.)+HERNANDO ANTIPORDA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila