I believe the word of the day for the Catholic bishops will be prudence.
The word prudence has a Catholic interpretation to it, one worth bearing in mind. A meditation on prudence might, indeed, an important group activity for the bishops.
The Catholic definition of prudence includes how prudence is demonstrated, since it is one of the four cardinal virtues::
According to St. Thomas (II-II, Q. xlvii, a. 8) it [a moral agent] is its function to do three things: to take counsel, i.e. to cast about for the means suited in the particular case under consideration to reach the end of any one moral virtue; to judge soundly of the fitness of the means suggested; and, finally, to command their employment. If these are to be done well they necessarily exclude remissness and lack of concern; they demand the use of such diligence and care that the resultant act can be described as prudent, in spite of whatever speculative error may have been at the bottom of the process. Readiness in finding out and ability in adapting means to an end does not always imply prudence. If the end happens to be a vicious one, a certain adroitness or sagacity may be exhibited in its pursuit. This, however, according to St. Thomas, will only deserve to be called false prudence and is identical with that referred to in Rom., viii, 6, “the wisdom of the flesh is death”.
I wish my father, who went to the seminary, were still alive to explain to me how, precisely, bishops would attempt to make a prudent call in the wake of the current crisis.
Let me suggest, however, that the prudent thing for the majority of them to do, would be to call for an impeachment. Doing so would define a common stand; it would be a stand neither the President, nor her opponents seeking to stick to the constitution realm, could oppose. It is one the minority in the House should welcome, and all the senators will enjoy. It would be a challenge to the President’s enemies to prove their accusations, the President, to prove her innocence. And it would certainly afford the country a better opportunity to understand the issues involved.
There will be bishops, I’m sure, who are arguing, right now, that to make a call for impeachment would be “false prudence,” as quoted above. But they are a minority in a heirarchy that profoundly respects the provincial bigwigs, who, after all, are more important to local dioceses than national officials. All politics, even the politics of faith, is local, as they say.
Cesar Purisima will be having a press conference at the Ateneo de Manila at 4 p.m. That should be interesting.
Scuttlebutt: Media was banned from the Assumption College during the Mass for Cory Aquino and alumni because the nuns got word Cory wanted to make her announcement there. They firmly declined and instructed the San Lorenzo Village guards not to permit the press inside the village. Theory of the day, from a colleague: Mayor Binay, perhaps, only likes 2-3 hour rallies because otherwise, there’d be too much garbage to clean up in his city.