Christmas is the celebration of the family, the birth of Jesus and his great mission to lead the world from sin, vice and cruelty to a kingdom where people are free to live a life of virtue and goodness. Here we can be members of God’s family and strive for friendship, justice, love and peace. What a great and beautiful ideal.
The family is under great pressure these days as the cellphone, the Internet and social media spread so much negative influences from child pornography, extortion, bullying and sexual grooming and abuse.
Evil has its tentacles wrapped around the minds and hearts of our youth and adults through these technological means of communication. The youth have to be helped to resist and throw off these influences and embrace a life of virtue. Adults too are under great temptation. There is even a website that encourages people to sign up to have an adulterous relationship, designed to destroy families and leave children without united parents.
Yet there are millions of families that are rooted in deep Christian values of love, faithfulness and compassionate concern that helps the abused, exploited people. But these too are under pressure as society is becoming more secular, frivolous and prone to vice, materialism, corruption and crime.
Love as a spiritual experience of unselfish friendship is hard to find these days. Today they are easily overwhelmed by the selfish satisfaction of personal desires, greed and lust. The great ideal of service of others through volunteering without asking payments, rewards, praise and entitlements is diminishing. The age when thousands of young people answered the call to dedicate their lives to the service for the poor and the downtrodden is coming to an end. The age of the cheater, swindler, manipulator, betrayer and unfaithful is here.
Those who strive to lead a good and virtuous life have to strengthen their belief in eternal goodness and the sanctity of life, love, family and true faithful friends. Goodness abounds but it is not organized into a strong movement that could overwhelm the march of evil and corrupt practices of injustice and torture and abuse. Silence of the good people has given a kind of consent to the triumph of evil in today’s world. As Jesus said, we have to shout it from the roof tops and take a principled stand for what is right and just.
The enemy of the people is clearly seen in the corruption, graft, kickback and plunder of the people’s taxes by the dynastic families. The bad example from leaders permeates society and corrupts all around it. Justice is tainted and criminals go free. The incompetence of corrupt governance is apparent everywhere.
The recent expose of the beaten and starving naked children lying on the cement ground like the victims of Auschwitz at the Manila children’s detention center called RAC (Reception and Action Center) caused outrage but not enough. The children photographed looked like the skeletal victims of Auschwitz. I wrote about them recently and the horrors they endured. The social workers, managers and those sworn to help them allegedly betrayed the children and their profession. Allegations of pilfered money needed for the children’s food abound but are denied. Unqualified, underpaid staff are part of the abuse. The case of Francisco is just one of many examples of starved and tortured children as revealed this week by Amnesty International in Manila. Several of the victims of torture mentioned in the report (see www.preda.org ) were interviewed in the safety of the Preda Foundation’s children’s home for rescued children in Olongapo City.
When I came as a Columban Missionary from Ireland to the Philippines forty five year ago, I saw this terrible hardship of the children in jail. I set up Preda Foundation to give them a new, happier life and try to end the torture and abuse. It seems we saved hundreds but failed, so far, to change the systematic abuse of jailed children, illegal as it is.
In the Preda homes, they are recovering from their traumatic abuse and told their stories of torture to researchers from Amnesty International. Most of the children were rescued by Preda social workers and myself from government detention jails. Readers can help save many more.
Social services and NGOs have not remained untouched. Some have fallen into the darkness of selfish gain, dishonesty, unfaithfulness and greed. They abandon too easily and too quickly the values they vowed loudly to uphold and defend. The malaise of the world of selfishness and greed has damaged and led astray even some of those that once worked for the higher causes of defending human rights, helping the poor and restoring the dignity of the abused.
It’s no wonder the faithful, virtuous good men and women are treasures to society, the hope of the nation and the true defenders of human rights and abused children. We can oppose and defeat evil by being faithful, honest, generous, kind, respectful of all and put our faith into action and keep it strong by serving and helping the needy children this Christmas and always.