Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category

Corruption charges for 17 DPWH officials in World Bank collusion scandal

March 26, 2009

Coming from a belabored delay on what to do with the World Bank’s (WB) report of corruption in the bidding of road projects in the Philippines, the office of the Ombudsman and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigate corruption charges on former sec. Florante Soriquez and 16 other officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH.)

If proven they are liable for violations of Section 3 (e) and (i) of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act; Section 4A (a) and (b) of RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees; grave misconduct; dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service; and neglect in duty, in connection with the bidding for two projects under the $150-million National Roads Improvement and Management Project-Phase 1.—Business Mirror (03/25/09, Solmerin, Z)

17 Officials Charged

1. Florante Soriquez—former sec. DPWH
2. Manuel Bonoan, chairman of Bids and Wards Committee (BAC) for Visayas and Mindanao projects
3. Bashir D. Rasuman, BAC assistant secretary
4. Salvador Pleyto, BAC assistant secretary
5, Juanito Abergas as BAC members;
6. Mocamad M. Raki-in Sr., vice chairman for the Mindanao area;
7. Rafael C. Yabut, vice Chairman for Operations for Area III.
8. Emersson L. Benitez, BAC member, project manager III and head of the BAC-Technical Working Group;
9. Baliame P. Mamainte, project director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-Project Management Office (IBRD-PMO);
10. Lope S. Adriano, the project director of the IBRB-PMO;
11. Joel I Jacob, officer-in-charge (OIC) of the legal service;
12. Camilo G. Foronda, OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services;
13. Antonio Manalo, Jr., Bureau of Research and Standards
14. Director Walter R. Ocampo, director of the Bureau of Construction;
15. Leonora Cuenca, , OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services;
16. Mario Bandelaria, project director of the IBRB-PMO
17. Florencio I. Aricheta, a representative of the National Constructors Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Construction Association.

“Graft investigators found sufficient documentary evidence to show that a violation of the Procurement Law has been committed. All 17 DPWH officials are being charged for approving bids that went beyond the approved budget of the $150-million National Road Improvement and Management Project-Phase 1“—-Mark Jaladoni, assistant Ombudsman. Philstar (03/26/09, Punongbyan, M)

The scandal linked Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, of bid rigging, causing a lot of public embarrassment when Philippine officials appear to stall the probe in spite of the leads given by a foreign lending bank like WB.

With competence and integrity in question, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who is saddled with an impeachment case against her, was heavily criticized for not acting on the corruption charges expeditiously. Sen. Miriam D. Santiago also led a “probe to nowhere” on the anomaly which disappointed the public. (Photo Credit: Mannan3) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “WB-funded road contracts & the US State Department’s charges of graft and corruption.” Posted by mesiamd at 2/28/2009; “Who bears the shame in the senate investigation of WB corruption scandal?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/16/2009; “World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates” Posted by mesiamd at 2/13/2009

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Obama’s stem cell research policy: the use of embryonic cells from helpless unborn sparks religious debate

March 10, 2009

As a sign of the moral dilemma and political divide rocking the United States, Pres. Barack Obama reverses the Bush-era stem cell policy that protects the embryo from being used as a tool in finding treatments and cures for illnesses. It is one of the many secularist liberal thrusts of the new administration.

The contentious decision is a triumph for those who want effective treatments against diverse illnesses like cancer, stroke, heart attack, and Parkinson’s disease. However, it is a set-back for the outspoken anti-abortion groups and pro-lifers who believe that life starts at conception and therefore the unborn is deserving of social protection.

“Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Scientists hope to harness them so they can create replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases — such as new insulin-producing cells for diabetics, cells that could help those with Parkinson’s disease or maybe even Alzheimer’s, or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury. But they come with criticism. “I believe it is unethical to use human life, even young embryonic life, to advance science,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative organization that opposes the move.”:—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/08/09, Eliot, J)

Obama is criticized by conservatives for approving the use of embryos in stem cell research to be funded by tax payers’ dollars. But his supporters believe curing sickness and allaying suffering take precedence over the welfare of the embryo. The advocates of the new policy are part of the rising number of Americans who believe that life without maladies is possible. They hope the words “incurable” and “terminal” may one day be banished from the vocabulary.

“This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities”—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/09/09, Gorski, E)

There are those who believe that the public funding of embryonic stem research is a paradoxical prelude to setting up of a healthcare policy which will use less costly medical services to the aged and the severely ill—-a radical triage plan which favors more care for people who are young and productive over those who are old, and disabled.

Despite the advance of modern science and temptations to hasten social engineering, life must be respected at the start of conception. Having seen abortion and selective pregnancies done in the America first hand, I don’t concur with Obama’s stance to use the cells of developing embryos in research investigations.

Though I may well benefit from embyronic stem cells because of my illness and disability, on ethical and religious grounds, I believe researches must find a way to spare the embryo. Life in its early form has been redefined, used and abused to suit certain socio-political agenda. The growing embryo deserves equality, dignity, and protection from society just like any human being.

“Princeton University politics professor Robert George, a Catholic and another member of the Bush-era Council on Bioethics, said the moral argument over embryonic stem cell research is not rooted in religion but in ethics and equality. He said research shows that an embryo is a human being in its earliest form of development, so we have to ask ourselves whether all human life should be treated equally, with dignity and respect. “—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/09/09, Gorski, E)

Convenience, easing suffering, prologation of life, and escaping mortality must not be done at the expense of others in society. From the vantage of science, embyronic stem cell research is not the only way to find cures against life-threatening and debilitating illness.

It’s my belief that individuals and governments have no ethical right to use cells of helpless embryos to advance the conveniences of the strong even if the need is pressing. Though cures from stem cells may one day be realized with the use of the conceptus, humanity can’t escape the changes that go with something as natural as sickness and ageing—all that leads to dying and demise. (Photo Credits: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine x 2)=0=

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Morality as an administrative order

February 18, 2009

The administrative order No. 5 signed by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo calls for a program that will bring moral renewal to the country. Is it for real? The presidential edict comes on the heels of many corruption charges which see no end. As the president’s tenure reaches the finish line, the entire nation wonders what will be accomplished by the action plan for moral rejuvenation. Zero tolerance towards corruption—that’s what the president says.

“Why only now? She should have done it long before. It is funny she’s calling for moral renewal now as it is only a year before the end of her term unless she plans to extend her term,” Jinggoy Estrada said.—GMATVNews. Net (02/17/09)

Widespread corruption is out of the box in the Arroyo government, but no one has the resolve to prove it. Used to inaction, Filipinos live in apathy and forlorn silence with their frayed cultural values. They hope a deliverer will come to rescue them— or something will happen by simply waiting.

Foreign observers point to widespread dishonesty, but most of us choose to keep our mouths shut. The emboldened corrupt among us are defensive. They are trying to convince us there’s nothing that can be done. It’s only a year before the next presidential election and many believe the government is better left alone to wither away for the next status quo. (Photo Credit: bw.futures(away)=0=

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“Not as a lecturer or as a judge,” EU thinks RP must do more to curb corruption

January 28, 2009

Many huge corruption charges in the Philippines involve officials in the highest corridors of power, but almost all of them remain as accusations displayed like dirty laundry for the public to bear. At the cost of the country’s credibility, almost no one gets punished. The entire nation keeps a blind eye of the growing list of scandals whose outcomes are often tip in favor of the crime doers.

For a long time, corruption comes like a foul odor ignored by the government and its citizens. The stench is allowed to stay, follow its course, until it dissipates in the wind. That’s the usual course that has incrementally robbed the country of its shame and dignity. The public is tired, perhaps, about to give up on corruption—for even with laws in place, there is little accountability. There is almost no public outcry of protest.

Illegal deals and criminal transactions occur right on the face of a Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo. Circumventing the law is common, perpetrated by criminals in broad daylight without embarrassment. The hideousness of the corrupt practices has prompted foreign entities like the World Bank (WB) and European Union (EU) to sound their alarm; they point to government deals that smell too stinky to brush aside. The latest is the WB disclosure of fraud in its bank-financed projects.

The president’s husband Jose M. Arroyo, just like in the past, has been linked to greedy collusion schemes. The latest is with the E.C. De Luna Construction Corp, one of the contractors named by the World Bank for rigging the bidding process of road projects funded by foreign money. Officials of the foreign bank are dismayed by the scale of corruption that is traced way back in 2007.

Careful not to rub the sense of shame of Filipinos, WB’s corruption charges which point the complicity of Chinese partners, suggest that the international community can’t just watch the dirty way the government is run. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo continues to play the charade for the nation.

The EU also sounded its concern by offering the Philippines help to fight corruption. Ambassador Alistair MacDonald of the European Commission said in a Commission of Human Rights meeting in Manila that the EU “sees corruption as a symptom of poor governance and lack of transparent, accountable management, and control system. —Philstar (10/28/09, Clapano, JR)

There it is. MacDonald is right in saying that officials, the civil society and media must work together to fight corruption in government by observing “transparent electoral processes and supporting parliamentary and judicial oversight.” The country can’t live with perversion of integrity that is out in the open and politicalized for everyone to see, but can’t do something against it.

Even if the outside world wants to help the Philippines solve corruption, it is still the people who must first reject and work against it. There is no shortage of anti-corruption laws. They are just waiting to be enforced, not by officials who are themselves corrupt, but by those who are committed to move the country ahead.

The fight against corruption needs ethical leaders to help government officials and business leaders reform their ranks. They need moral rejuvenation and accountability which must be taught and applied in the community. With the nation’s fate at stake, there is deep shame when foreigners remind Filipinos of their freedom, duty for country, and moral responsibilities. (Photo Credits: Almostevil665; wdbphoto) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “On Philippine Corruption And Our Being Inure To It” Posted by myty555 at 12/16/2008

Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

January 28, 2009

“The 2006 World Competitiveness Survey by the Switzerland-based Institute for Management Development ranked the Philippines 60th on bribery and corruption among 61 countries surveyed. In the 2007 report of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, using a grading system with 10 as the worst possible score, the Philippines got 9.4, worsening sharply from its grade of 7.8 in 2006.

The problem of corruption in the Philippines is getting worse, and it appears that it is not just a problem of perception but an actuality. The corruption cases are increasing not only in number but in the amount of money involved. In the past, the big cases involved tens of millions of pesos; now, the figures run into hundreds of millions and even billions.” —-Inquirer (06/30/08, Editorial, Worsening Corruption)

1. Filipino & Chinese bid-rigging cartel in bank-financed projects exposed by World Bank

2. Jocelyn (JocJoc) Bolante’s P728 Million Fertilizer Fund Scam diverting agricultural funds for the 2004 election campaign of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

3. $329 Million Philippine National Broadband Network-Zhong Xing Telecommunications Deal (NBN/ZTE mess)

4. The $2-million IMPSA (Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima) alleged bribery case involving Justice secretary Hernando Perez to rehabilitate the 750-megawatt Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) power complex in Laguna.

5. The allegedly overpriced P1.2-billion Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard Construction

6. Commission on Elections’ P1.3-billion poll computerization program

7. Pres. Joseph Estrada Plunder Conviction and the Controversial Hasty Pardon

8. “Hello Garci” alleged Election fraud of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

9. Unexplained Wealth of Government and Military Officials—some of them take tasks of “investigating” corruption

10. Money Laundering Schemes like the “Euro Generals Scandal”

11. Maj. General Carlos Garcia’s amassed P143 million wealth in AFP

12. The P500,000 cash-gift distribution (bribe?)in Malacanang Palace in 2007

13. Tax Evasion, Special Purpose Funds & Public Procurement Anomalies

14. Killings, tortures, and disappearances of journalists, plain citizens, and perceived enemies of government

We probably know the brazenness of corruption to a point of surrender. So we either ignore them or we shield ourselves from truth by pretending wrong-doing and perversion will go away. We have our own psychological adaptations that work for sometime just the way we’re tempted to run away from moral rectitude and brush aside responsibility.

The brave among us however face reality as it comes. No matter how hard and hurting, we understand the need to correct our errors. We know life is a succession of battles where courage, tenacity, and optimism are required and apathy has no place. We need integrity as a hedge against fraud; honesty is a positive force to renew society. Consider the corruption in the world. What can we do about it? (Photo Credit: Zero Q)=0=

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Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo: a beacon of hope

January 16, 2009

Many UP Ibalonians know Jesse. The popular Bicolano mayor who is an adopted member of the Ibalons shares the mission of the organization. Gearing for more national leadership, he is at the forefront of of the Kaya Natin movement, a group of hope-driven Filipinos who seeks better governance, transparency and ethical responsibility in public service. Ibalonian Don Salvosa shares an inspiring article about Jesse written by Harvey S. Key of the KN movement which appeared in Manila Bulletin, Sunday, December 28, 2008. The piece is reproduced entirely below.—mesiamd (01/16/09)

Things I learned from Mayor Jesse Robredo
by: Harvey S. Keh

For many of you who don’t probably know him, Mayor Jesse Robredo is the multi-awarded incumbent city mayor of Naga City, which is currently the main commercial area of the Bicol Region. Aside from this, Mayor Robredo was also one of the first Filipino winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service which is equivalent to Asia’s Nobel Prize. He won the award because he was able to transform Naga City from a third class municipality to a first class city and uplift the quality of life of his constituents. Moreover, he was able to develop systems that would enable government processes to be more transparent and accountable to his constituents. As a prime example of this, when one visits the website of Naga City, you would be able to see all the expenses and purchases of the city government. In the more than 16 years of being the mayor of Naga, the city has received accolades from national and international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

I met Mayor Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation, one of the country’s more effective institutions in improving our public education system. Since then, Mayor Robredo has been one of the people I have looked up to for advice and his effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me. As such, I wanted to share the things that I have learned through these years that I have worked with him.

Firstly, I have learned that there are still people like him who continue to remain ethical despite being in government service for the past 16 years. Many people have dissuaded me from entering government service since they say that no one actually survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption. Mayor Robredo has shown that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner.

When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values, he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations, and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families, we have someone like Mayor Robredo who continues to put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devotes time to his three daughters. I remember a time wherein he failed to attend one of our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his help with regard to her school project. Many politicians would often jump at the chance just to be able to speak before thousands of students but Mayor Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo has also shown that he is a man that can stand up for what he believes in even if he already knows that majority are no longer with him. This can be seen when in the last 2 Presidential elections, wherein he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco because he believed that he would make a good President for our country even if he already knew that surveys have shown that Senator Roco would have a slim chance of winning and even if he already knew that if Senator Roco loses he may not be able to get the support of the winning candidate. Standing up and holding on to your own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. Our present day leaders will often support issues or people that will help propagate their own self-interests without necessarily thinking if what they are supporting will be for the common good.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I learned from Mayor Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life. When one thinks of Filipino politicians, large houses and expensive cars always comes to mind but when one visits Naga, you will see that despite being on his 6th term as mayor of a 1st class city, he continues to live in a very simple home. I remember one time wherein we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him just taking a cab without any bodyguards to reach our office. Back then, I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars, blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards. Among all of these lessons, I think what Mayor Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to Hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue
to deliver proper services to the people and will always put the interests of our country above his or her own interests.(Photo Credits: http://www.nagagov.ph x 2; Rolye) =0=

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Shoes versus Pres. George W. Bush, pelting eggs on a Romanian leader & a pepper spray for a Manila socialite

December 23, 2008

There is always something to laugh about or be concerned for when we read that a head of state like President George W. Bush got shoes thrown on his face by a hateful angry Iraqi. The outgoing US president has been blamed for almost anything that has gone wrong—-from the war Afghanistan, the economy, business, and social security. On his last visit to Iraq, he got insolent treatment.

The journalist who threw the shoes has been charged for endangering the life of a head-of-state. Since December 14, 2008, Muntadhar al-Zeidi complains of having been rough-handled and beaten by authorities. According to his brother, the apology he made for the crime was forced; he liked doing it again to the delight of his supporters.

Shoe-throwing-by Filipinos

The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad had mixed reception in all cultures of the world. Many took it as a prank worthy of a loud laugh. The intelligence community thought of it as a security breach, an insult to visiting dignitaries. Overseas Filipinos (OFW’s) took the event as an occasion to display their own displeasure of Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA,) the president whose administration had been bugged by rising scandalous corruption. They too pulled angry shoe-throwing displays, making GMA’s photos as the apt target.

Egg-throwing in Romania

In the ceremony marking the people revolution of 1989, irate Romanians pushed, jeered, and pelted eggs on Ion Iliescu, the leader who replaced Nicolae Ceausescu. The latter was Romanian’s dreaded communist dictator who was violently ousted and executed in an uprising two decades ago.

A three-time elected leader of Bucharest, Iliescu was blamed for failing to go into the bottom of the deaths of more than 1,000 people during his predecessor’s bloody regime. A 79-year old aggrieved man who lost a son was arrested for throwing eggs.

Pepper-Spray Scandal in Manila

A brawl of two flashy socialites resulted to eye injuries which led Neny Montinola to visit the emergency room of a swanky hospital in the Philippines. According to reports, at a party in the “Embassy,” in November, Patricia Panilio-Cu-Unjieng, a Filipina of alleged upscale breed and wealth, angrily pumped pepper-sprays on her rival’s face to vent rage—at the acme of her “jealousy.’

Controversies which passed the ears of their patrons ensued until the two women decided to end their catty dispute. They chose to bury the scandal’s dagger in the spirit of Christmas. Supposedly bred in some exclusive schools in Manila, the two war-weary ladies reconciled. A public apology was reportedly issued, though no one seemed to have paid attention. The people of the country were too focused in their own mundane concerns.

THE AFTER-THOUGHT

This is the world we are in. People can just attack someone without thinking of the consequences. Anyone can make an apology whose sincerity is up for questions. Whether they are justified in their actions isn’t much of an importance. Violence in whatever form must not be condoned.

We better watch out. There are legitimate ways to protest and redress wrongs in civilized cultures. But it appears the avenues to get justice are threatened by the fraying of ethical traditions and the warping of our own moral beliefs. (Photo Credits: http://www.ChinaDaily.com; http://lakwatsera1.com; Luky-luke; Bo Madsen=0=

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A fresh look at longevity as a supercentenarian dies

November 28, 2008

Edna Parker, the 115 year and 220 day old American woman, the world’s oldest person died, says the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, California. The Indiana woman who lived in a nursing home followed the passing on August 13, 2007 of the Japanese Yone Minagawa, the Guinness World Book of Records title holder for the oldest person before Parker.

Both persons qualify as “supercentenarians” for having lived beyond 110 years old. It is believed that currently there are 89 supercentenarians worldwide among whom 79 are women and 10 are men.

An amazing Frenchwoman who lived for 122 years

Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, France on February 21, 1875 and died on August 4, 1997. She once met Vincent Van Gogh in her father’s shop. Her genes may have contributed to her longevity as her father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. She married a distant cousin at the age of 21. Her only grandson died in 1963. She rode a bicycle to the age of 100.

In October of 1995, much press coverage announced that Jeanne had exceeded the lifespan of Shigechiyo (Chigechiyo) Izumi, who until then had held the claim to the longest lived human. In fact, work by John Wilmoth indicates that Izumi may have only been 105 when he died, meaning that Jeanne may have outlived Izumi in 1980. If that is accurate, Jeanne would have become the longest lived human in 1991 when she exceeded the longevity of Carrie White, who died at the age of 116.”—Source: ww.wowzone.com

Increasing longevity of people has been a source of fascination of modern society. It is mainly attributed to better healthcare, control of illnesses by science, improved diet and life-style. With a normal maximum life-span of about 120 years, people are enthused by the prospect of extending years of survival or achieving immortality.

Researchers are finding ways of extending longevity, but others are questioning whether a longer life is better than having a shorter one that is meaningful and relatively free of protracted suffering. Ethicists mull on the morality of prolonging survival using means that are controversial. For instance, they struggle on the moral questions on using helpless human embryos in an effort to cure diseases and extend life. (Photo Credits: Ollik; AP/Darron Cummings; http://www.wowzone.com; [][][][])=0=

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The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

November 2, 2008

The Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, New York where I am a parishioner shares the United States bishop’s reflection “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It serves as a primer on how a Catholic must vote in the US election. What is below is an abridged version of the document. The complete text can be read in http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org

The US bishops make clear that they don’t tell Catholics how to vote. They said the responsibility to make political choices rest on the voter. The bishops’ advice is ever more valuable as America charts its future.

Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy?

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another.”

Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life?

Catholics need to act on the Church’s moral principles and become more involved: running for office, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.

How Does the Church Help Catholics to Address Political and Social Questions?

A Well-Formed Conscience: We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church.

The Virtue of Prudence: Prudence enables us to” discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” As Catholics seek to advance the common good, we must carefully discern which public polices are morally sound. A good end does not justify an immoral means.

Doing Good and Avoiding Evil: There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always be rejected and never supported. A preeminent example is the intentional taking of human life through abortion. It is always morally wrong to destroy innocent human beings. A legal system that allows the right to life to be violated on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

Similarly, direct threats to the dignity of human life such as euthanasia, human cloning, and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil and must be opposed. Other assaults on human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, may the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified.

The use of death penalty, hunger, lack of health care or housing, human trafficking, the human and moral costs of war, and the unjust immigration polices are some of the serious moral issues that challenge our consciences. And require us to act.

Making Moral Choices: Difficult political decisions require a well-formed conscience aided by prudence. The exercise of conscience begins with always opposing polices that violate human life or weaken its protection. “Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good (USCCB, Catholics in Political Life).

What does the Church Say about Catholic teaching in the Public Square?
The consistent ethic of life is committed to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death. Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues and should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance. It is important for all citizens “to see beyond party politics.”

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

Human life is sacred. Within our society, life is under direct attack from abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, and destruction of human embryos for research. These intrinsic evils must always be opposed.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The family, based on marriage between man and woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected.

Rights and Responsibility

Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities—to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us—the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.

Dignity of Work and the Right of Workers

Economic justice calls for decent work at fair, living wages, opportunities for legal status for immigrant workers, and the opportunity for all people to work together for the common good through their work, ownership, enterprise, investment, participation in unions, and other forms of economic activity.

Solidarity

We are one human family, whatever our national, social, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences.

Caring for God’s Creation

Care for the earth is a duty of our Catholic faith. We are called to be stewards of the environment for now and the future.

Conclusion

In the light of Catholic teaching, as bishops, we repeat our call for renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. This kind of political participation reflects the social teaching of our Church and the best tradition of our nation. Source & Photo Credit: http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org =0=

The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

November 2, 2008

The Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, New York where I am a parishioner shares the United States bishop’s reflection “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It serves as a primer on how a Catholic must vote in the US election. What is below is an abridged version of the document. The complete text can be read in http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org

The US bishops make clear that they don’t tell Catholics how to vote. They said the responsibility to make political choices rest on the voter. The bishops’ advice is ever more valuable as America charts its future.

Why Does the Church Teach About Issues Affecting Public Policy?

The Church’s obligation to participate in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, a part of the mission given to by Jesus Christ. As people of both faith and reason, Catholics are called to bring truth to political life and to practice Christ’s commandment to “love one another.”

Who in the Church Should Participate in Political Life?

Catholics need to act on the Church’s moral principles and become more involved: running for office, working within political parties, and communicating concerns to elected officials. Even those who cannot vote should raise their voices on matters that affect their lives and the common good.

How Does the Church Help Catholics to Address Political and Social Questions?

A Well-Formed Conscience: We Catholics have a lifelong obligation to form our consciences in accord with human reason, enlightened by the teaching of Christ as it comes to us through the Church.

The Virtue of Prudence: Prudence enables us to” discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” As Catholics seek to advance the common good, we must carefully discern which public polices are morally sound. A good end does not justify an immoral means.

Doing Good and Avoiding Evil: There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always be rejected and never supported. A preeminent example is the intentional taking of human life through abortion. It is always morally wrong to destroy innocent human beings. A legal system that allows the right to life to be violated on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.

Similarly, direct threats to the dignity of human life such as euthanasia, human cloning, and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil and must be opposed. Other assaults on human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, may the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified.

The use of death penalty, hunger, lack of health care or housing, human trafficking, the human and moral costs of war, and the unjust immigration polices are some of the serious moral issues that challenge our consciences. And require us to act.

Making Moral Choices: Difficult political decisions require a well-formed conscience aided by prudence. The exercise of conscience begins with always opposing polices that violate human life or weaken its protection. “Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good (USCCB, Catholics in Political Life).

What does the Church Say about Catholic teaching in the Public Square?
The consistent ethic of life is committed to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death. Catholic voters should use Catholic teaching to examine candidates’ positions on issues and should consider candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance. It is important for all citizens “to see beyond party politics.”

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

Human life is sacred. Within our society, life is under direct attack from abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, and destruction of human embryos for research. These intrinsic evils must always be opposed.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The family, based on marriage between man and woman, is the fundamental unit of society. This sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children must not be redefined, undermined, or neglected.

Rights and Responsibility

Every human being has a right to life, the fundamental right that makes all other rights possible. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities—to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us—the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.

Dignity of Work and the Right of Workers

Economic justice calls for decent work at fair, living wages, opportunities for legal status for immigrant workers, and the opportunity for all people to work together for the common good through their work, ownership, enterprise, investment, participation in unions, and other forms of economic activity.

Solidarity

We are one human family, whatever our national, social, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences.

Caring for God’s Creation

Care for the earth is a duty of our Catholic faith. We are called to be stewards of the environment for now and the future.

Conclusion

In the light of Catholic teaching, as bishops, we repeat our call for renewed politics that focuses on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. This kind of political participation reflects the social teaching of our Church and the best tradition of our nation. Source & Photo Credit: http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org =0=