Citizen or fanatic?

|September 09,2018 - 11:33 PM

The confrontation between Col. Manuel Bernal and Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, interpreted by director Jerrold Tarog in the movie “Goyo,” forces a thoughtful contrast between a soldier and a dog (apologies to canines and their humans), and resonates in today’s Philippines.

The difference is we do not juxtapose warriors against loyal pets; we compare fanatics versus citizens.

Heroes of the Philippine Revolution like Apolinario Mabini would agree that soldiers fight for nation, freedom, and people in contrast to dogs who tend to weaken the cause of nationhood in their loyalty to someone who seeks the center of power rather than be centered on the nation’s emancipation.

Today, we have on one hand citizens who suffer the blunder, plunder, and murder being normalized under the Duterte regime.

On the other hand, we have fanatics who cheer the misrule.

Citizens should not allow themselves to be dragged by fanatics into the muck. To this end, the Oratio Imperata or mandatory prayer for an end to the series of killings in the Archdiocese of Cebu, circulated by Archbishop Jose Palma edifies. The text of the prayer hints at the difference between the citizen and the fanatic.

“Heavenly Father, the source of life and foundation of peace, we your children mourn, worry, and are anxious because of the successive murders of our brothers and sisters.”

First, the prayer is addressed to a supernatural principle of life and peace. While the citizen recognizes the humanity of any leader and attributes to the divine the origin of human life, the fanatic misattributes to a mere human being the divine prerogative of deciding who lives and who dies.

Second, the prayer mourns victims as brothers and sisters. While the citizen never forgets that shared creaturehood with fellows bonds them as siblings, the fanatic concludes that every person who is murdered met his fate because as part of society’s weeds, he courted uprooting.

“We beg you, awaken the minds of those who don’t even care, disturb the conscience of those who author the killings, touch the hearts of those who support the murders, and comfort those who mourn.”

Third, the prayer raises a petition for the enlightenment of those who are in the wrong instead of asking for their annihilation.
Where fanatics condemn those who resist their group think as haters or malicious partisans out to depose the leader they have deified, the citizen dares to hope that fanatics’ indifference, willingness to kill, and celebration of bloodshed are not their definitive reality or identity.

“Give us the strength to fight evil with good, and to reject crooked ways. Protect us from the lies of the devil, and free our country from the power of Satan. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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