Thursday, August 21, 2008

Helpless State of Affairs

Samuel Johnson said: "Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?". My concluding remarks would dwell on this line from the author's Vanity of Human Wishes for I believe that this best explains man's personal thirst of knowledge and the demand of responsibility this entails. It is remarkable that today's event is a reflection of change - a change from desert of ignorance to the garden of knowledge. Though, in our ceaseless movement toward achieving wisdom, we seek that goal before us - the goal of being free because we know. However, this acquired knowledge does not imply segregating from the real world that calls us to render our noble duty. This duty is a responsibility toward others, just as a treasure destined for its possessor. Thus, this change is manifested today as you usher yourself to a new phase in life.

Man becomes helpless if drawn into the darkness of ignorance - he is severed from the fount of truth that clears the path before us. Then, in the end, downfall is not far behind. In your years here in this institution, you have transformed from a parched cloth to a dripping towel, eager to manifest this acquired knowledge into the world. We could sense your anxiety at the same time the anticipation of the hereafter as you begin to taste the bittersweet sap of reality. You should have by now appreciated the feeling you had in the past when you first entered these halls, when you opened your minds to a different world of human care. How you have changed! But this anxious feeling does not entrap us in immobility but should always give us the joy of sharing what we have learned.

In this time and age, the world appears to us wide and vast. The opportunities for us are variegated and things have become complex and subtle. It is imperative for us to find our niches in the space of work just like a patch in a beautiful Roman mosaics, each has its contribution to the beauty of the whole. The beauty of healing is not in the institution it represents but in the goodness that comes from it. That goodness does not become a theory, an idea in itself but becomes a person through our agency. It becomes truly human because of us.

Thus, in the medical knowledge we learned comes the human face of healing. This what makes human care noble because it restores what has been lost. It is as if saying what died was brought to life, what lost was returned.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The God in Beauty

During my usual browse at the, I came across the a piece of the recent stay of Pope Benedict XVI at the foothill of the Alps near the Austrian border, where he met the presbyters in the area and answered some of their questions raised. It is said that it was closed doors. What caught my attention is the way the pope revisits ideas he often elaborated in the past, in this case in the aspect of beauty and truth. The title is The Pope Theologian says: The Proof of God is Beauty, which nicely situates the pope in the surrounding beauty of the Alpine scenery speaking about the power of beauty teaching the truth about God. He made mention of the different musical geniuses, the rise of Gothic and Baroque art, and the saints, whom he calls " ... the saints, this great luminous arc that God has set across history... ". In one word, the explication of a transcendent God could be represented on the material world through instruments evoking this truth. Here in the Philippines, we have different old churches that teach what any professor can say in million terms. It now becomes a "proof of faith". In a certain sense, a material content on what St. Peter in his epistle has exhorted to render our personal proof of what we believe. If we listen to the music expressing our praise to the Holy Eucharist and our adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, we feel the emotion arising from the depth of our hearts. It is as if the words connect to the chord is close to our being. In itself, it becomes one with our being as a personal prayer. It does not become a string of notes rising to the God but the language of our hearts invoking Him as our Lord.

No wonder that Summorum Pontificum has stressed the all-time validity of Mass of Pope John XXIII. No one can, indeed, question that the Tridentine Mass, as it has been known, evokes a divine feeling, a yearning reaching to the unknown and beyond - a dimension that is not in our reach for now but an eschatological hope we know that awaits us in the end. Here, I am always reminded of my abhorrence of the way priests and bishops have yielded to the dictates of practical measure in the way we construct our churches and act do the sacraments. Some priests are obviously lost in what to say in their homilies; some of these sermons have been rehashed and worn out by constant use. When we listen, the congregation oftentimes dwindled to looking around and disturbed, not by the ideas expressed but by superficial things happening near. Though everything is not lost. A few of our priests here have taken the length of sacrifice to dig deeper; their sermons have at least the quality that pulls the minds up, pointing to things not commonly shared by everyday life. There are also priests who have attempted to navigate on difficult matters of theology, but it seldom struck any chord in me. One time when I had an opportunity to visit a born-again community, whose homilist was a pathologist, I found her convincing because she shows the depth of what she believes. However, she still suffers that lack of actual depth in terms of theology. She takes her stand from the point of view of a common believer, not from the rational academician in theological institutes. This kind of talk does not usually get me because I have read some beautiful sermons of the Fathers of the Church and other churchmen, like Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. So, it is in beauty in words and aesthetics that an encounter with the person behind the "veiled Epiphany"happens.

The appreciation of beauty among Filipinos is always present - it is our second nature. But just as Pope John Paul II in his essay about the universal destination of universal goods has pointed out about the phenomenon of consumerism, our quest for beauty can imperil us to seek what entraps us eventually. This means that there is this danger when we enclose our definition of what is beautiful, noble, and true by the measurement of subjectivity: we put ourselves as the tape measure, as the social thermometer, and the ethical barometer. This dangerously leads to destruction in both spiritual and material composition of self. In the end, this radiates outside to your family and community.

The rest of the write-up concentrates on the environmental concerns. How Christians are exhorted that any concern of the surroundings are not merely appended teachings to the truth of Christ, it is material to it. This is constitutive because Yahweh was explicit in the way man and earth are coupled: the earth is there for man as the gift and man is to subjugate the created material order for his satisfaction. The pope stresses the guardianship of man to the things God has given for him, not to squander it with abandon and devoid of sense of responsibility. It is here that any wedge between man and earth can the environmental problem we are slowly experiencing come about.

The whole account of Sandro Magister points out how the pope can easily engage in a conversation with anyone by opening opportunities of doing so just he is more than willing to converse with his priests. In the upshot, then, the pope has this nature of working into a dialogue to express that beauty not consigned to a few but should be always opened to the world at large, whose yearning for beauty, nobility, and truth is always felt.

Reason That Finds Faith

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lately, I have had the time of reading Rationality and Faith in God by Professor Robert Spaemann of University of Munich. The essay was 17 pages long. The whole prose delivered a critique on the way the modern and post-modern world has treated the subject of religion. The investigation into the realm above the physical and the questions posited therein has become a pariah in the intellectual circles of our time. Man in the postmodern world, so it seems to me, should be introduced into the totality of the world of reality: if the physical then also the metaphysical one. Is it not doing disservice to truth when man is only presented with the scientific worldview of the universe without introducing to him the veritatis splendor, which can give him a real meaning that he is in need of?

The author took pains in explaining the authentic role of faith in the universe of reason. His own analogy of film taken from the analogy of Plato of the cave itself merits a reflection since the relationship he clearly shows is itself plausible. The ground in which a specific reality exists (the projector projecting images on the screen that represents our reality) begs a position that is worthy of our question: of the existence of a creative thing is in itself a tenable inquiry. And by using the analogy of this ancient philosopher, the author perfectly suits this fundamental question well within the tradition of western philosophy.

There are many issues the author has developed in his essay. One such thing is the rumor of God, which has been present since the dawn of mankind. I remember reading an investigation about Neanderthal's burial practice in which these prehistoric men had had some respect of their dead. This rumor about a transcendent being cannot be ruled out from the facts of history. What more has there been more evidently clear than the positions of Greek philosophers with regards to their rational investigations. Somehow, their views of reality (especially of Plato) always assumes a hierarchy of things. This hierarchy at its face value always account for a being at the highest category. And, when the diffusion of Greek thought with Christianity happened, as had occurred within 200 years before the birth of the Messiah as evidenced by the writing of the Septuagint and apocryphal books of the Old Testament, a remarkable flowering of philosophical investigations of religion happened and the history of philosophy saw its augmentation in breadth and width.

This harmony exists with the agency of the Church, which has become the bedrock of inquiry into truth. The Church has always believed in the sole source of truth, which was in Plato's analogy depicted by the glaring light of the sun and by the projector, as the Christian deity in the perfect union of three. In no way the truth of faith contradicts the truth of reason, for reason finds its authentic and profound meaning only in the illuminating light of faith.
The author at length elaborated on the constraint that is inherent within the materialistic ground of reason. An example he gives was about pain and mathematical formulations in the causal laws inherent of nature. He explains that mathematics and nerve conduction do not offer an explication in itself but only depiction or description on the observable laws of nature. In itself, nerve conduction or firing of neurons that subserve pain does not offer any more than the feeling of pain only. This is where erroneous assumptions stem when this is extended more than it can sustain. It seems that scientists as by describing something that is finite as in pain regulation, then implies that it explains the nature of pain absolutely. And, anything that adds to it is already as superstition, as like redemptive suffering in Catholic theology that totally transforms our pain into a metaphysical reality.

Much more in the essay deserves our attention. Reading it has given me depth of appreciation as to the categorical reality of our finite knowledge. The Word became Man, thus: reason became visible for all. Truth does not hide, it manifests as like beauty under the Sun.

The Beauty of the South

Thursday, November 23, 2006

During my Cebu sojourn, as was always my tradition, I would get a trip by the south, passing from Santander to Oslob and then on. It is not so much of the length of the trip that I would say that counts most but by the sheer and immense joy at seeing things you do not normally see around. The cliff that suspends at the side of the sloping Cebu province, the stiff ravine facing the sea that drops off into a bluish depth, and the sea breeze that catches your face as it finds its way to a head toward the picturesque mountain sides. I would not gladly trade it in any other way than to watch the immensity of beauty hanging around as one wounds his way at the sides of the inclining drop-off.

This is a love for the travel that shows no other comparison except for other equally unique experience by other travelogues too. The magnificent churches especially of Oslob, Dalaguete, and Argao will constantly reminds one of the great Christian patrimony of culture that blends with faith that is Western in nature. If you are keen enough to look at these churches, you will notice that its architecture majestically weaves with the place. The campanile of the church of Nuestra Senora de PatrociƱo evokes a kind of watchtower, lying in wait for the marauding Muslim pirates that would regularly assault coastal towns of the Christian communities. These are very pulchritudinous.

If I would have the chance always to choose my way, I would also go the other way, on the western side of the province of Cebu. It is equally captivating. The sea is all the more breathtaking. Where the sea meets the mountain is where the beauty meets the eye. The soul is the bulwark of man's definition of what is beautiful, true, and good. The great philosophers in Greece have always given time to thinking about the magnificent feeling of beauty's contribution of man's search for truth. Man's quest for what is truth in no way contradicts to man's apprehension of the beautiful. How can ugly mix with truth? How can one appreciate goodness of creation with the ugliness of povery and hunger? The sheer apposition of these words is enough to question the content of such words as beauty, truth, and goodness. That is why by man's appreciation of what is beautiful in the surrounding circumstances, art, song, poetry, prose, and nature, he is himself apprehending the soul's natural inclination towards which it has its natural due.

During one of these trips, I could not help noticing that one's experience of life creates perspectives of appreciation of the natural world. My emotions and feelings coupled with my understanding of the visible realities have a lot of influence on my admiration of the artistic natural things. My vacation years in Bohol have shaped my perceptiveness and hold of what is good in the creation. Of course, symphony in things around us is just one aspects of the inherent natural order of things in us too as humans. If we begin to realise that what is external to us in a way is just an extension of truth of what is in us also, we can ultimately gather that though diverse we are in many ways and that disparities occur in every level of the created world, the natural harmony of the world points only to one thing: a logical and harmonious Creator that breaths government of realities.

In more ways, I would wittingly accept easily a land trip than a sea trip. I would even more willingly permit myself if I could step off from a bus and walk around to breathe even just for a while the place of beauty.

As one nears Cebu City, one can feel the helpless change of place. The dank sides of the streets, the odor that knows no limit, the people whose heads are preoccupied with money to no end, the place where trees have become so foreign by the year, and lists of unpleasant things of no end are many things that technology and the modern living have encroached upon a once pristine place. There is so many things superficial and temporary in our age. I usually cannot help to think them as makeshifts of today. I do not know if they will remain standing forever on the place they are rooted, but nothing can ever compare on a standing edifice be it an ivy-covered churches, battlements where shrubs are a common resident, old cemeteries and mortuary chapels lying at the roadside just across the town churches, or trees whose splendid roots reach down to the deepest bodies of running underground water. These should remain because these are memories of timelessness that will always teach generations upon generations of what world had passed on them, of what age they have been borne out.

If you are close enough to investigating things more meticulously, you will almost always find out that narratives and narratives of accounts will not enough to spell out the histories of standing structures you will find so common in a corner or two, in sleeping town, or old sections of modern cities. One day in my visit to Manila, I could not sleep while my thoughts were on intramuros the following day. It is a great chance where what you read and what you see meet halfway. Surely, you are making yourself truer when you spend your searching soul its own natural disposition and tendency.

An Accusation Beyond Telling Current

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Always a part of man is to apprehend truth. Though one can be involved with a lie, man constantly does not appear to be contended by mere acceptance of things he may or may not understand. His disposition to truth continually makes him restless and wrestling with the perennial questions of his day. In this time and age, man though weighed in with the baggage of history seeks truth to satisfy his inner longing -- longing that cannot be satisfied ipso facto because we are made by a Truth-Being whose nature is Truth itself and that this Truth continually seeks those who love the Truth. What is magnificently elaborated in Christian theology is that this truth is personified. A person, indeed, who can love and exchange love in communication through communion.

"Beyond all particular questions, the real problem lies in the question about truth. Can truth be recognized? Or, is the question about truth simply inappropriate in the realm of religion and belief? But what meaning does belief then have, what positive meaning does religion have, if it cannot be connected with truth?" These are the questions of Pope Benedict in his book, Truth and Tolerance Christian Belief and World Religions.
If there is truth in the world of realities, therefore, there is a source of this truth in the world. If there is the wellspring of truth, then this source is truth itself. In Christian revelation, we are taught that in a Trinitarian God, there is one substance, hence one nature, in three persons. What is its nature is common to the three. If the Gospel of John teaches that the Word, whose substance is one with the Father, we can then deduce that the Word itself is an image of the Father. And, when the source of truth is Truth itself, and Christian revelation exhorts us to believe that God is the singular source of truth, then Jesus Christ, who is one in substance and nature of the Father, is truth revealed.

This is the Christian point of reality. A Christian like me does not look the world outside myself as something absolute, but that it is contingent and finite. If it were considered in physics that the universe, which is 12 billion years old, has a beginning, then it would have an end. If we were to transpose this idea within a religious context, then it is more than necessary to infer that the one who created it can also end it. Hence, we can say that it is teleological. The reality of which we apprehend through our senses and abstractions if it were to sustain in itself had to have something in it that subsists to exist. The laws of nature and the inherent mathematical system that seem to govern this vast space could not rule out an order that may or may not pre-ordain such coming into being. The crux of the matter is that this basic presumption can has significant ramifications to both unbelievers and believers. The point of departure can be for both as to this point: if such coherence and order is given by chance or by a transcendent being whose existence has created reality ex nihilo. In and itself, this existent law is a truth already that somehow peeks us into eternity.

What becomes an incessant problem among peoples of today is its suspecting attitude to claims of a creator. It is as if there is a summary dismissal of such assumption that to raise such a question is absolutely unimaginable. Thence, if the claims of science of the existence of laws is true, then what is true is truth in itself. Its existence is already something that exists as it exists external to man himself. If to test it empirically is to assume its existence, then it is truth in and by itself, whether or not it is contingent to time and space or particular to time or space. If it is to be assumed that a particular law can exist only on a particular space and time but not on another is erroneous. It is because the particularity of this law is in itself subsisting as to exist not universally but particularly, valid for a specific milieu. If it becomes non-existent in other realities, hence it does not void in itself since it can exist in itself in the milieu where it can exist.
Now to posit different realities is beyond the limits of man to know; if indeed he can albeit in an almost limited way. We may as well assume that in different dimensions there are laws governing in itself which may speak of different concepts to explicate. But this is where Christianity splits with science. Where the boundaries are marked, there faith finds its remarkable power to bridge the abyss of man's ignorance to contemplation of a Being who is the truth-source. In any way, science in itself is sense-perceived, mechanistic, and empirical almost always. There is speculative and abstract science, but in most ways these have its groundwork from a mechanical point of view to develop concepts and ideas as its point of departure.
In philosophy, there is a distinction of realities. There is the physical and the metaphysical realities in which each participates in the unity of truth. In the history of the religion, it has become inevitable that within the Mediterranean world, an exchange of transcendental ideas and thoughts always happens as the continual traffic of human migration is a known fact. The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Cretans, Greeks, and later Romans had had trade routes mapped out along the seacoasts from Gibraltar to the Black Sea. The natural body of water of the Mediterranean offers possibilities, which helped out the advancing of a truly unique Western Civilization. It does not seem to be a surprise that Jewish religious thought would meld with inherently pagan Greek divine ideas and philosophical speculations of reality within the the so-called pax Romana of the early years of the first century. The Septuagint Bible, the Greek Bible used by the Jews in diaspora, is a unique contribution to this tension of two things: an inherently monotheistic body of Semitic people and polytheistic nation-states, whose glory lies in its boldness in hitherto unknown human capacities of investigating reality. In Regensburg of September, 2006, the present Bishop of Rome spoke of the meeting of these two. And, it is not without any reason that, indeed, the world would eventually witness a civilization that knows no boundaries even of the heavenly space. The radicality of fusion is at the crossroad of a unique phenomenon as the birth of Christianity springs within this milieu. If it is all left to a Jewish phenomenon, the birth of a western civilization would have been unlikely to happen. The attitude of the People of the Law towards other beliefs is only of indifference. Israel does not look as a vocation a missionary ideal in spreading faith, but of a passive relationship to others who have the interest in their belief.

Primarily, the commission of the Lord into baptizing men and women and of teaching what He taught the 12 would continuously resound within their ears of those whose zeal their faith had animated. The nature of Christianity itself is a contrasting characteristic of this religion. To spread its ideas and teaching until the ends of the world for salvation does not come for the believers as relative; it always has an absolute sense of a commandment. That is why some would see this missionary work of Christianity as one of its greatest liability for in the process it hinders growth and existence of other religions. But the glory of Christianity is in the absoluteness of its cl.. to believe in the one Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of humankind. Thus, its essence would then demand precision of thought where reason has become its handmaid. No wonder that in 313 in Nicaea, the council fathers had to hammer in correct terms the definition of one God in three persons. Though first-century church father, Tertullian had some doubts as to using philosophy in the service of faith, Christianity in the centuries to come would exhaust philosophy as its tool in creedal formulations. This materiality of faith as shown in the belief structured in words is Christianity's essence as it tries to explicate an incarnational theology. This idea of a God-made-man is not, however, unique and peculiar to Christian religion. Nevertheless, what makes it particular in this case is that from the concept of a totally transcendent and otherness of a God who manifested Himself in a unique election of Israeli, He has totally become unveiled in the person of Jesus Christ Who proclaims liberation not of the materiality of freedom but from the spiritual oppression that hinders man in his communion with his creator. This physicality of a belief does not render it impossible for man, though weakened by sin but can be imbued with the supernatural grace in the name of a God-man mediator, to push his own limits in his attempt to attain temporal freedom. Hence, some postmodern men have realized that indeed for western civilization to witness such zenith of achievements borne within its cultural locus, it is but not a contradiction to claim that Christianity has served it as its best means to fruition. The reasonableness of God as logos Himself manifested in a being with the materiality of man explains best why man in his capacity to reason out can declare a supernatural reality out not from contradiction of truths but in its harmony using his God-given rationality. This optimism of faith that liberates creates splendid vistas of man to explore his being and the reality around him.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Private Property and Universal Destination of Material Goods

The essay from John Paul II is essentially anthropological that touches on the essential relationship of man toward the material goods, man towards his co-workers, and man toward the economic systems that emerged to being. The pope taught on those categories that are economically symbiotic with man.

Since Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII, the Church has greatly seen the deep moral consequences of economic systems right from the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century until the fall of Communism in 1989. Since the Soviet Socialism, Capitalism has stood unchallenged at its wake for the most part of the 90s until the recent rise of Maoist-inspired merger of political communism and capitalistic economy of People’s Republic of China. Christianity believes that it does not live inoculated from these economic systems, nor does it live in the realm of pure spiritual state alien to the material world.

The essay opened with a reference to Genesis, which recounts the creation of man and his high calling of dominating the whole created order. Pope Wojtyla explores Christian anthropology: its essential nature as creature endowed with gifts and his relations to the whole created order including man himself, his relationship to justice, and his destiny for happiness. He mentions man's right to private property, and its origination rooted in the biblical foundation. From there, he goes on to enunciate two factors beginning human society: land and work. Here, he explicates in details man's inherent interrelatedness with other human beings in what he called the "community of work", and the beneficiary of work: "work with others and work for others". The groundwork of the essay is advanced essentially in the discussion about the nature of man and humanity and his varied gifts in satisfying his different needs, which the foremost are the basic ones. Indeed, no one can claim sole possession, since the destination of the goods is for all and everyone. He acknowledges that the complexity of the present circumstance of man is becoming more evident in the way knowledge has evolved so as to meet the ever-increasing needs of man. Here, he made mention of the scientific knowledge as a form of ownership: "the possession of know-how, technology, and skill". He acknowledges that this is a new form of possession that many vistas of opportunities are opened for man's exploration in the material world.

It is remarkable to note in the essay that the whole system should be submerged within the concept of the intrinsic human freedom: “economic activity is indeed but one sector in a great variety of human activities, and like every other sector, it includes the right to freedom, as well as the duty of making responsible use of freedom.” Like any human project and enterprise, there are risks and problems posed, and he discussed these in detail. The pontiff elaborates the tendency of capitalism to engulf man and enslave him, even mentioning in passing the obvious weakness of socialism. No system is perfect, albeit even in capitalistic states. The essay pointed examples even in first world economies no less than the plight of the third world workers. Both, he says, can expresse any marginalizing situations where workers don't have the "cultural roots" in the latter economies and the intrinsic predilection toward "constant transformation of the methods of production and consumption that devalue certain acquired skills and professional expertise, and, thus, require a continual effort of retraining and updating" in the former. In between these two basic realities, he reminds us of the arching Christian principle of justice governing the ways in which man's lofty value is protected and secured, and the different means that man can legitimately express his quest for satisfying his profound needs: “it is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied”. One of these is the access of third world economies to international market, when he said that “countries which experienced development were those which succeeded in taking part in the general interrelated economic activities at international level”. As well, to advance the cause of man’s rights, the essay did not fail to mention about trade unions and workers’ organizations, which “defend workers’ rights and protect their interests as persons, while fulfilling a vital cultural role, so as to enable workers to participate more fully and honourably in the life of their nation and to assist them along the path of development”. These are mentioned as part of man’s wide range of opportunities for commitment and effort in the name of justice.

Here, the writer apposes this concept of protecting workers’ inherent rights to the idea of a struggle against an economic system. What is understood in this struggle is to fundamentally defend the nature of human work that is “free and personal” against “upholding the absolute predominance of capital, the possession of the means of production and of the land”. Therefore, what is posited is a “society of free work, of enterprise, and of participation”. The relation now is that the market exists subservient to the forces of society itself and the state. The state acts as a regulative entity to preserve the inherent rights of man. The obvious danger of the elevation of absolute free market is comparable to the rise absolute political socialism that marked the history of 20th century. In both cases, the dignity of human person has been gravely compromised.

The pope transitioned his essay to touching the idea of the legitimacy of profit. Again, he endeavoured to enunciate the compatibility of profitability as “regulator of the life of a business” to the existence of the “community of persons”, whose satisfaction of its basic needs comes before anything else. As Christian realism dictates, the integrity of the personhood of every individual that comprises the working community is first in the seeking of profit. At this point, he affirms that the fall of “Real Socialism” did not put Capitalism as the default economic system. This does not infer that capitalism comes out as invulnerable and free of any blind spots. Since capitalism now becomes the model of most countries, moreover, he calls the attention of the entire international community to its noble role in offering weaker countries with opportunities, and also hearken the latter about these opportunities given as part of its goals to rise. It is reasonable to say then that the pope stokes the emergence of the soul of a system to make it more personalistic for the cause of man. Here, the pope was quick to point the problem of foreign debt, which is one of the great reasons that paralyze developing countries: “… it is necessary to find – as in fact is partly happening – ways to lighten, defer, or even cancel the debt, compatible with the fundamental fight of peoples to subsistence and progress”.

Well within the capitalistic milieu, the pontiff puts in a stark contrast the culture of consumerism. The “phenomenon of consumerism” is a grave pitfall in a system that gives everyone the chance to compete in the market. He introduced this idea nicely by putting emphasis on the quest for quality in the markets in this time and age. He says “it is clear that today the problem is not only one of supplying people with a sufficient quantity of goods, but also of responding to a demand for quality: the quality of the goods to be produced and consumed, the quality of the services to be enjoyed, the quality of the environment and of life in general.” Now, what is basically underlined by the pope is that the yearning of man for quality may stem from a wrong “concept of man and his true good”. From his erroneous presuppositions of himself, he is now satisfied by goods that would complement this need. And, if it might be necessary and to further the pope’s idea, this consumeristic idea might as well enclose man within a vicious cycle, entrapping himself in this phantom of personal concept of need. He elaborates that the material and instinctive needs should be subordinated by the spiritual and interior ones. Further, he is weary of the way this would hinder man’s freedom by creating in the society a lifestyle and attitude of consumerism. Man, thereby, is hindered in his ascent to the grasp of personal freedom when he values what is superficial and transitory. This is given a portentous description in his example of drugs. And to strike this in dialectical terms: “it is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards “’having’ rather than ‘being’”. He gives importance to a great educational and cultural work to be done in behalf of these realities.

The essay at the end revisited the question posed in the beginning on the destination of material goods. He puts up a question as a wrap-up between what sort of capitalism is congruous to the needs of third world countries: "can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their conomy and society?". He propounded a kind of capitalism which "recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector". In one sense, the pope is worried about an ideological proclivity to advance radical capitalism as a "system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious...". He accentuates the bitter reality of marginalization and alienation that has bereft workers of their dignity in capitalistic states. Even in an age of freedom, problems of neglect could arise often as a bleak contrast, showing us an ugly face of post-modernity. In this, he advocates a solution that is not blindly hinged to the forces of the market, but addresses the problem in an appropriate and realistic way.

In the concluding paragraphs, he underlines the role of Christian Church's social teaching as indispensable to the life of economy as it affirms the positive contribution and role of business. It is an "ideal orientation" that reminds the market of its innate role subordinate to the nature of man. The essay points that the "teaching also recognizes the legitimacy of workers' efforts to obtain full respect for their dignity and to gain broader areas o participation in the life of industrial enterprises so that, while cooperating with others and under the direction of others, they can in a certain sense 'work for themselves' through the exercise of their intelligence and freedom". Thus, as a parallel to the increase of the business life is the human persons' full integral development because economy is not only a "society of capital goods" but a "society of persons". Man only fulfills himself through the use of his intelligence and freedom, which are his inherent gifts, to the things of this world, which becomes his own. In doing his work, he needs the network of support from others and combines himself with them for the upliftment of their lives, and in the end, elevates the condition of the many others.