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Too much turmoil all around – war, famine, epidemic, calamity and political unrest. Peace is apparently becoming more and more elusive in spite of the general intercession for peace across the globe beginning with oneself. The Ebola virus disease, though declared by the World Health Organization as treatable, is causing shiver to the people’s bones. This is especially much so that the agency itself reported that the Ebola outbreak is out of control. For now more than 700 deaths were reported since February this year including 60 health workers and 1,363 more down with Ebola.
With these figures on the Ebola outbreak, certain Filipinos released the idea of mass extermination, as in the Hollywood film Outbreak, to contain the further spread of the dreadful disease. To the conservative mind of the God-fearing, the suggestion is uncalled for much less outrageous and revolting. Still, proponents maintain such insinuation as lesser evil than seeing or at least knowing the patients horribly enduring excruciating pain and slowly dying while putting at great risk practically everyone around them, including the health workers. Where is mercy and compassion in this design?
Mercy and compassion collectively sets the tone of Pope Francis’ visit in the Philippines. The Holy See, seat of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy and located in Vatican City, revealed the theme of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines that centers on these two virtues, that is “A Nation of Mercy and Compassion.” In a pastoral letter, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, declares, “Our compassionate shepherd comes to show his deep concern for our people who have gone through devastating calamities, especially in the Visayas. He comes to confirm us in our faith as we face the challenges of witnessing to the joy of the Gospel in the midst of our trials.”
To resonate this special drift while Filipinos await the visit of Pope Francis, CBCP president urged the Catholics across the country to pray during the Mass, particularly before the post communion prayer to recite the national prayer for the papal visit,” from August 1 this year to January 14 next year. While churches in the country, have started the prayer, the Archdiocese of Palo where the Pope is said to hold a special mass, a special local prayer could possibly be recited in lieu of the national prayer. Archdiocesan Vicar General Rex Ramirez disclosed that the local church has prepared “our own prayer for the Archdiocese,” which is yet to be approved by Palo Archbishop John Forrosuelo Du.
Mercy and compassion is not just to be carried on in prayer but as the CBCP urged should be couple with acts. The prelates said these acts of mercy, which should be done at least one act everyday, could include giving food, to hungry beggar, visiting those is prison or helping the recovery efforts for the typhoon victims. Obviously, barely thinking of killing the thousands of patients of the Ebola virus disease is not an act of mercy and compassion, much more in doing it so or any lawlessness in the society that further places the aggrieved and deprived in greater jeopardy.