“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Of habits and corruption

Bishop Crispin B. Varquez

By Bishop Crispin B. Varquez

WHEN we do the same thing over and over again, it becomes a habit. If it is a good thing, we form a good habit, a virtue. If it is a wrong or bad thing, we form a bad habit, a vice. Someone said that bad habits are like adhesives; the longer they stay, the stronger they stick. They are difficult to detach.

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One wrongdoing disturbs a well-formed conscience. But when it is repeatedly done without adverse effects on the doer, it becomes a habit. The conscience gets used to it. It becomes an ordinary part of daily life. It would seem to be a normal thing to do.

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Most habits are formed in childhood; some are acquired in adolescence; yet some are developed in adulthood. It is important that in childhood we are taught to practice respect for the person and properties of others. Every child needs to learn notto say things that harm other persons. Every child needs to learn not to use nor dispose of anything belonging to others without the latter’s permission even when they are trusted, yes, especially when they are trusted.

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When, by our office or position, whether we are appointed or elected, we are entrusted by others with anything, using and/or disposing of it for our personal benefit is a betrayal of trust. Such betrayal has a name: it is CORRUPTION.

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Any official is a servant. Officials in the government, for example, declare themselves to be public servants. Isn’t it sad when betrayal of trust becomes an ordinary part of their daily life? What if a servant’s conscience is no longer bothered when he uses or disposes for his personal gain the goods meant for his masters? How sad it is to watch servants accumulate their riches by impoverishing the people who trusted in their promise to serve? It is really very sad when corruption becomes ‘normal’ in a system, when it becomes a culture in a country. Ang pinakamalungkot sa lahat ay ang nangyayari na kung sino pa ang gumagawa ng tama ay siya pa ang nagiging masama. Talagang nakakalungkot ngunit kadalasan ay nagkakatotoo.

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As baptized Catholics, we are God’s children–called to live a dignified life. We are called to value honesty and sincerity. Turuan natin ang kabataan sa pamamagitan ng ating magandang halimbawa ng pamumuhay sa pamamagitan ng ating pagsisikap at pagpapatulo ng ating pawis. Let us bring up, for our country and for the Church, future servants who truly uphold HONESTY as, still, the best policy!

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