Communism being what it is, to accuse anyone of being a Communist or a Communist sympathizer is a very serious matter. To make such an accusation in public against an innocent person would constitute grievous, perhaps irreparable harm to his good name. Not even the urgency of fighting Communism can justify such an action, for we may not do evil that good may result.
It must not be forgotten however that Communism is a movement committed to the total destruction of the social and political order in which we live, and that according to Communist doctrine, any means whatever, not excluding conspiracy is by its very nature secret. Hence, it may sometime happen that enough evidence is available to point to its existence, though not the kind of evidence that is acceptable in a court of law.
What is to be done in such cases? In democratic states, citizens in possession of such evidence have not only the right but the duty to bring it to the attention of the authorities, in order that effective measures of prevention may be set in motion. Obviously, all the necessary safeguards must be taken to protect the innocent in the process of reporting and evaluating such evidence. The investigations to which it may lead must be conducted in the strictest confidence by officials of unquestioned integrity.
If these conditions are fulfilled, such a course of action is by no means undemocratic. Indeed, our democracy would be quite defenseless against the ruthless power that threatens to destroy it unless security measures of this sort are undertaken.
The internal problem presented by Communist conspiracy in a democratic state is a grave one. All the more reason, then, why we should approach it reasonably, calmly, without hysteria. We shall do so if we keep in mind the following simple norms of action: first, indiscriminate to public denouncements of specific persons or class of persons as Communists or Communist sympathizers, when unsupported by proof, is immoral; second, reliable information which may be useful in combatting Communist infiltration should be reported to the proper authorities; third, such information must be restricted to this specific purpose, and so kept that the reputations of innocent persons may not be jeopardized thereby.
Given on the 6th day of July, in the year of Our Lord, 1954.
For the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines:
(Sgd.)+JULIO R. CARDINAL ROSALES, D.D.
Archbishop of Cebu
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