Friday, February 24, 2017

FULL TEXT: Archbishop Villegas' open letter to Cardinal Sin on EDSA

"x x x.

(Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates "Soc" Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, wrote the following open letter to his mentor, the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, for the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution of February 25, 1986. Villegas was the long-time private secretary of Sin.)

Dear Cardinal Sin,

It is you I miss most these days.

I do not mean to disturb your peace. You already have passed from this valley of tears to the House of the Father, but please Cardinal Sin, do not forget us in our present travails as a nation. I know you can receive this message. I believe. Nothing can separate you from us in the Lord. You love this country so much. You will not let us lose our hope. 

I know you can hear me, and I know you are here. As I know your love for this country, I also believe that in heaven your heart pleads to the heart of God to embrace this beautiful land. Cardinal Sin, embrace us and ask God to embrace your God loving people. Do not look at the blessings we have squandered and the heroism we have ridiculed. Do not look at the news we have faked and the people we have cheated. Do not look at our uncaring attitude about the victims of extrajudicial killings now exceeding the number of victims during martial law. 

Look at us in our fears and pray for us to God to heal our land. Give us courage. Give us hope. Shake us up from our timidity.

Thirty one years after EDSA 1986, I hear our people ask: What shall we celebrate? What is there to celebrate? By the corner of EDSA and Ortigas, I want to sit and weep as I remember the four glorious days of February 1986 now dimmed. The glory now flickers in the darkness of fear and terror again. The songs of peace now drowned by the cuss words of hate that invite murder. The bloodless revolt now stained by the blood in our streets and street gutters. The statistics of unresolved murder continues to rise, and not a single one has been investigated and brought to justice.

Four days of bloodless revolution! Wow!

Now 8 months of relentless killings of the poor in the name of "change"! It is a nightmare, Your Eminence! It is a shame.

'Did you also cry quietly?'

The dictator ousted by People Power is now buried among heroes. The Lady of 1,200 pairs of shoes is now Representative in Congress. History books are rewritten. Historical memory is revised. The hero is a villain. The plunderers are now heroes. Thank God, Eminence, you did not see these days we are going through.

Tears flow. Uncertainties choke us. It is hard to choose silence and take the blows. How long can we endure? It is hard to fight for the right without question or pause and be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause. You remember that song Eminence? That was your favorite line I remember. Singing it again makes me smile and makes me tear.

Did you also cry quietly in the dark years of the dictatorship? Were you ever discouraged and did you also question yourself if what you were doing was right? Were you ever afraid or did you ever feel the urge to stay in your zone of comfort instead of fighting the unbeatable foe?

Cardinal Sin, I feel the same and you know that. I know many feel this way. Teach us how to cope. Teach us your courage. Teach us your humor. Teach us your faith. Teach us righteous indignation. Wake us up from our pacifism and pull us into the fire of passion and courage again.

x x x."