Today is the feast of Mary Help of Christians. Mary the Helper is as old as the title Mary the Mother. This devotion was the armament of the Popes in the past against the attacks of kings and emperors on the Church. The devotion to Mary Help of Christians has been the recourse of the Church from centuries ago to resist anti-Christian forces.

Let us gaze at the Virgin Mary and let us look at our country.

There are many things happening to our country that are repulsive and revolting.
Fake news abound, lies are peddled and truth is bargained for the right price. The smoke of graft and corruption keeps going with no one to snuff out the fire from where the smoke comes. Politicians are abundant while statesmen have gone scarce. Constitutional rights are violated and legal processes are ignored.

But among all the social ills that are slowly eating up our national soul, the murders and the vulgarity are incredibly and sadly on top of the list. Years from now, this chapter in our history as a people will be called the Reign of Murder and Vulgarity. Sobra na!

The poor Filipinos killed by still unknown assassins for the past two years are enough to fill up the Narciso Ramos Athletic Field in Lingayen. Most of them are adults, many are youth, a few are children but all of them have a common adjective to describe them—defenseless and silent poor. If they were not killed by government agents, the government agents have been incredibly yet systematically unable to trace the killers and bring the wheels of justice to roll. Sumosobra na talaga!

The vulgarity in language used to shock us years ago. It feels like we were more decent and respectful, polite and courteous many years ago; but it has been only two years since this downslide to vulgarity started rapidly. Women are disgraced in words not once but habitually, as if it were a standard policy to mock womanhood and reduce the God given dignity of personhood to genitals. Anger can be righteous but in recent months, anger had lost its righteousness. If you are angry, you have a right to be vulgar. If you are afraid of the backlash do not get angry at the wrongdoer. We have become numb to vulgarity. We laugh at vulgarity instead of getting shocked and angry.

Now, vulgarity has taken another twist—to mock the memory of the murdered; to calumniate a faithful departed who cannot defend himself; to gossip about the dead; to add inconsiderate sorrow to the grief of those they have left behind. Is murder to be excused due to the unproven immorality of the killed? Tama na!

We have anti-Christian forces around us shaking our Catholic values. Murder is offered as a solution to our problems and vulgarity is glorified as a way of life. There is hostility towards decency. Human life is under threat. It would be naïve to hope things will improve without us lifting a finger. Please pray and from prayer let us act together to defend the values of Christianity. Vulgarity and murder are anti- Christian.

Hindi ba sobra na? Hindi pa ba tayo maninindigan? Kung hindi ngayon kailan pa? Turn to Mary Help of Christians and let her send you forth in battle for her Son.

Mag-isip. Manalangin. Kumilos nang sama sama.

From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, May 24, 2018

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

Riza Mendoza

By Riza Mendoza

Cultural Advocate