This is the challenge of the Pope in his Message for the World Day of Peace – “Overcome Evil with Good!” (January 1, 2005)

In his landmark message at the beginning of the New Year, the Pope grieved over the presence of pervasive evil in the personal lives of men and women and in their communities.  He deplores the destruction of the fabric of mutual understanding through conflicts which feed on violence and reprisals.  The Pope tells us that the solution to our social conflicts is through our commitment to justice and peace. Our fight for a better world is waged effectively with the weapons of love.  When good overcomes evil, love prevails and where love prevails, there peace prevails.

It is the prayer and deep desire of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that peace prevail in Hacienda Luisita. And for this to happen, justice must also prevail.

We join the call for true justice for the victims of the November 16, 2004 confrontation that led to the deaths of seven and the wounding of hundreds. We call for an impartial investigation that will identify and punish the perpetrators of this violence and indemnify the families left behind by the victims.

We call for the resumption of negotiations between the strikers and management in a context of mutual respect. For we must not confront one another as adversaries but live as brothers and sisters under the same sky and sharing in a common dream of a better life.  Our Christian faith tell us that we must strive to constantly look out for the good of others as if it were our own.  It is by strengthening the common bonds of our humanity that we overcome our hatreds and selfishness.

Vince in Bono Malum / Overcome evil with good.  Let us overcome the evil of violence with the good of peace. Let us overcome the evil of economic poverty with the good of social justice where workers receive just wages.  Let us overcome the evil of a divided society by fostering love among us in a nation where labor is not pitted against management, where authority is not exercised with arrogance, where rich and poor work together as partners building a Philippines strong with the values of justice, freedom, and peace.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

+FERNANDO R. CAPALLA, D.D.
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

January 23, 2005

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