CSR Learner's Corner Archives

Of the Church and BCYF, or How the Church Always Had It Right

“Four popes in one ceremony is a fantastic thing to see and to be at, because it is history being written in our sight.”

Those were the words said by Polish pilgrim Dawid Halfar, only yesterday. The venue? Vatican City. The occasion? The canonization of two of the most prominent Popes of the twentieth century, the reformist Good Pope John XXIII and the conservative, much-loved John Paul II. But not only was Pope Francis there; so too was his predecessor and John Paul’s successor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It is truly fantastic – two living Popes together in one event… and the first time two popes have ever been canonized together.

It happens that yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter. It also so happens that Divine Mercy Sunday as a Christian feast is an initiative of St. John Paul II’s. What a beautiful occurrence.

Politically, the canonization of a “left-wing” Pope and a “right-wing” one implies neutrality and an attempt to reconcile both sides to move forward in greater development. Now, St. John XXIII was known for instigating Vatican II, the Second Ecumenical Council, which discussed how the Church should re-present herself in modern times. St. John Paul II was known for reaching out to as many peoples, faiths, and walks of life as he could, tying them together under the name of God. But both Popes have made one thing clear: they have accepted and embraced their social responsibilities. Both, in fact, have lived through at least one decennial anniversary of the famous Rerum Novarum encyclical by Pope Leo XIII, commemorating them, like previous Popes have done, with their own follow-up encyclical. And all of these teachings are instrumental to BCYF’s raison d’être.

Today, I’m sharing the thoughts of my dear friend and mentor Noreen Bautista, the head of BCYF’s ISED (Institute for Social Enterprise and Development), as she related them to us in an email a few days ago. It’s about her attending a conference a few years ago on Pope Benedict XVI‘s Caritas in Veritate encyclical, then only a year old.

For some reason, there was something about that conference that left me restless. Perhaps it’s because I always felt I had a call to social development, and a people-centered approach towards it. Years later, specifically at this very moment, I now realize why.

Noreen then shared with us an article from the book she got from that conference, “A View on Development as a Calling to Genuine Improvement”, written by Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao. He also happens to be the creator of the Personal Governance Agenda… the tool at the core of BCYF’s CSR 3.0 advocacy.

Just found this while I was cleaning my book shelf, and I realized this is exactly what we’re trying to advocate. Now that I realize it, CSR 3.0 is based on the Catholic teaching on social development:

Authentic human development concerns the whole person in every single dimension. (Populorum Progresio, 14)

The truth of development consists in its completeness. If it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development. (Caritas in Veritate, 18)

To quote from the article (2010):

If we take people as the central reference for all discussions about, an efforts at, development, it is difficult to escape from the proposition that all development, to be genuine, must be of people, by people, and for people. It must lead to the improvement of the people themselves; in other words; they have to become better…

It begins with persons, who by nature have an autonomy and freedom they must enjoy and use for ends that necessarily go beyond the narrow bounds of self. They are after all called to use and develop their natural gifts, in interaction and communion with others…

Moreover, development is undertaken and sustained by persons, who keep on who keep on using and improving their ability to use their talents and other natural endowment, thereby constantly raising the levels of productivity and efficiency they have at work. 

Finally, it ends with persons, with a deep sense of self-fulfillment because they have been able to pour themselves out in their work as well as in their friendship and charity towards others….

In other words, persons need at least 3 things in order to develop themselves and the communities to which they belong: 

(1) a deep consciousness of, and commitment to, their mission in life;

(2) a strategy map for actualizing a vision or a dream within a given long term horizon;

(3) and a scorecard which measures the progress they are making and the actual performance they are delivering even on a day-to-day basis … towards the attainment of their vision.

Whatever people may think about the Catholic Church especially these days, these visionaries of God had it right. Development is not really development if it concerns only one or several facets, such as and most especially economic or financial development. In fact, that is and should be merely a tool to help further promote development in human beings. Furthermore, that’s the key word: human beings. Development cannot be restricted to just one person – that is the opposite of social responsibility. It must be a viral infection of goodness and blessing that spreads from person to person, exponentially growing.

Thus, learning how to be a true practitioner of citizenship, sustainability, and social responsibility cannot be compartmentalized into just one or several classes. Suddenly, the need to inject CSR as early as possible seems to magnify. It must be brought to every aspect of a person’s development – beginning in particular at home and in education.

Therefore, what education truly needs is not a course on social responsibility introduced in kindergarten and becoming more complex as the year level increases. What it needs is a total overhaul of what and how students are taught, a revolution in teaching to attune more to everyone’s social responsibilities, only and most especially for His greater glory.

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