As a Christian nation, our abiding faith in God has always guided our dealings with our friends and neighbors. We believe in hard work and in fair play to achieve our dreams. For this reason we shun cheaters, liars, and thieves who reach easy street by stepping on the toes of others.
All our lives, our parents at home and our teachers at school and our parish priests and nuns at church have endeavored to weave morality - the sense of what is right and what is wrong - into the fabric of both our family and community life. Their hope is to build a society that measures up to the moral uprightness of its leaders and its citizens.
Our full reward, our faith teaches us, is not in this world but in the afterlife. We believe in justice: that good will be rewarded and evil will be punished. For what does it profit a man or a woman if he or she gains the whole world but loses his or her soul?
To ease the anger of the people over her inimical assaults on their welfare and on their democratic institutions, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has offered a half-hearted apology, if not an insincere one. For what followed her "I'm sorry" speech was a blizzard of obfuscations, not real contrition as demanded of her by a good conscience to set aright the wrong that she has done.
The people expected atonement but are being fed daily with a dose of presidential arrogance. She has excoriated her critics for taking her to task, embarked upon a crusade to cover up her bad behavior, and is defending herself with the logic of a moral relativist. "Yes," she seems to tell us, "I rigged the elections but what's the big deal? You all move on with your life."
Moral relativism is a pseudo philosophy that recognizes no absolute truth other than the subjective interpretation of what is right by individuals to suit their selfish purposes. By this definition, it removes the stigma associated with lying, cheating, and stealing. Or with kidnapping, graft and corruption, and accepting jueteng payoffs. All that matters to those who deny moral excellence is the happiness of evildoers, and they couldn't care less what great harm their self-centeredness has inflicted on others.
In his pre-conclave homily before the College of Cardinals shortly after the death of John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, warned them that the Catholic Church must not become prey to modern moral relativism or ideological trends. He also pointed to the advance of anti-Catholic secularism both outside and within the Catholic Church.
"A dictatorship of relativism is being formed, one that recognizes nothing as definitive and that has as its measure only the self and its desires," he said.