Recent news reports tell me
that we do not seem to learn. The lesson, of course, is this: wrong perspectives lead to the road of destruction. The perspective of narrow vested interest is wrong. The perspective of the common good is
right, although admittedly crimes are committed in the name of the common good. But for such crimes the common good is falsely claimed.
It is in the light of proper perspectives that we need to question
why my favorite movie actor is now being put forward as a possible presidential candidate. Are we now a people devoid of our wits? Even in the best of times — and our times is certainly not — we need the
best president that we can think of. Thank God I also read in the papers that the actor has no ambition to become president. But, aray, a newspaper is now running a survey on peoples' opinion on the
The need for perspectives is, indeed, urgent. Why are our legislators playing political power games as though bereft of a sense of the common good? The Roman emperors used to quell the restlessness
of the populace by offering "panis et circenses," bread and circuses. Today we wonder if our legislators are offering circuses rather than bread, since bread is scarce, not to quell our restlessness
and impatience but to fan them further to exasperation. O tempora o mores! The disappointment of the Roman senator, Cicero, in ancient Rome can well be ours. Oh, how exasperating our times and
Wrong perspectives. For some bishops to cover the sins of priests, as many seem to claim, and reassign them somewhere else with no professional psychological and spiritual treatment would be a
totally wrong perspective. For bishops and priests to give financial help to priests' victims, or willing partners as the case may be, in order to bind them to silence would be a totally wrong perspective.
But for a proper perspective we have to listen to another view. Certainly an argument can be made for those bishops who are impelled by sheer compassion for both perpetrator and victim or willing partner.
These bishops try to fulfill the expressed desire
of both parties to keep their terrible secret and "terrible shame" out of the public eye and prevent scandal. They then try to help in the best way they know — psychologically, morally, financially and run the risk of being accused of covering up or of giving "hush money."
Wrong perspectives. To solve the problem of sexual misconduct of priests by abolishing priestly celibacy is to put the blame on the wrong factor. It is a wrong perspective. As wrong as wanting to abolish
the institution of marriage because so many married couples fail to keep their marriage vows. It is reported that in the United States there is nearly 50% divorce rate and a great number of such failed
marriages is due to infidelity. No, to put the blame on priestly celibacy would be a wrong perspective.
It would be wrong to say that a married clergy would solve the problems. After all, infidelity to
commitments is not a phenomenon limited to celibates. In fact there is absolutely no scholarly study that connects the principle of priestly celibacy and unmarried clergy to sexual problems. It is also here
that the speculation gets the better of the argument.
On many issues we need to get our perspectives right. Total log ban versus selective log ban, GMO versus totally organic, U.S. military assistance
versus total "independence," liberalization/privatization versus government ownership, administration and regulation, globalization and anti-globalization, etc., etc. When we analyze different perspectives
on these issues and on many other issues, we also discover hidden political, ideological, and religious agenda, which themselves need our discernment.
This reminds me finally of the current energy problem.
The problem seems intractable. We may be looking for short-term gain at the cost of long-term disaster. The current enemy is the purchased power adjustment or PPA. Should we not also look at the possible
connections between IPP and political decision-makers? Frankly confused as I am on this issue, I am searching for the proper perspective. Alas we cannot invoke God or the Sacred Scriptures on this issue,
except in very general terms. Lord, have mercy on us as a people.