Good and bad exclusivity
by Fr. Roy Cimagala

I was happy to have been invited to give a talk to youth leaders of the Cebu Archdiocese the other day. I was asked to talk about “Communication, Media and Catechesis.” I immediately thought that it was a good occasion to encourage these young ones to get more involved in what I term as the apostolate of public opinion.

I was happy to note that they actually wanted to do more than just teach catechism to parochial children, but they did not know how. Without disparaging the parish-based catechism classes, I gave them ideas along the line of going beyond preaching to the choir and reaching out to those who are a bit far from the Church and religion in general.

I told them about the new Areopagi in the form of the new technologies and of what possibilities these can offer them. But obviously, I reminded that all these endeavors should be grounded on a working spiritual life where piety and doctrinal formation should continue to grow.

I told them to develop a keen interest in the goings- on of society and the country in general as reflected in the media that now includes the social media in the Internet. They ought to know the issues, especially those with strong spiritual and moral implications, and the different resources they can use to positively contribute in clarifying those issues.

I encouraged them to be broad-minded so they can participate in a meaningful discussion of the issues. This can mean the ability to apply the catechetical points to the issues involved, knowing how to make the necessary adaptations without compromising the doctrine of the faith. This will require some special training, and of course, the grace of God.

I cautioned them to be prudent and always positive in their approach, but also sharply aware of the usual dangers. They have to learn to hold their horses, especially when the topic becomes contentious, and to do a lot of self-deliberation, that should include prayer and study, before they open their mouth or take the pen.

There were actually many other things I told them, but I focused more on the need for them to always be charitable in their interventions in the media. This is where I told them about the need to distinguish between good and bad exclusivity that the pursuit of truth would inevitably involve.

With so many hot-button issues nowadays, it’s important to know that the exclusivity of truth does not degenerate into bigotry, narrow- mindedness, bitter zeal and self-righteousness. These, sad to say, are the common subtle anomalies that many so-called ‘good people’ succumb to.

A good exclusivity of truth will always search, uphold and defend the truth in charity with all the other virtues that charity would engender. It practises the charity of Christ. A bad exclusivity will do it without charity and would rather stick to its own version of truth. It is a rather subjective kind of truth that is searched, upheld and defended.

A good exclusivity knows how to be patient and kind in its expressions. It is willing to suffer for the truth. A bad one is rather impatient and tends to impose its idea of truth on others. It prefers for truth to suffer for them.

A good exclusivity will know how to understand those who differ from its position and will do everything to clarify itself. A bad one can hardly stand opposition and is more interested in scoring points. It likes to be triumphalistic.

A good exclusivity knows that views are not simply intellectual affairs, but involve at the end of the day the whole person. It is more interested in the person than in the ideas. It’s more interested in charity than in correctness and winning an argument. A bad one is often stuck with ideas alone and the person is considered secondary and dispensable.

A good exclusivity captures the spirit once articulated by St. Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians. “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths,” he said, “but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear...Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (4,29-32)

A good exclusivity would simply drown evil with an abundance of good. It’s more into proclaiming the Good News than into entering into debates. But it’s not afraid to suffer.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...