ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Bishop David: the Nobel Prize to Maria Ressa, a glimmer of hope

Monday, 13 December 2021 human rights   freedom of conscience   freedom of the press   politics   social network   journalism  

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - "For the first time in our history, a Filipino journalist was awarded a Nobel Prize for Peace. As I listened to her speech, I felt something lighting up inside me. It gave me that little glimpse of hope that Gaudete Sunday is about in this penitential season of Advent. Maria Ressa’s speech echoed the words of Saint Paul, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’. Saint Paul invites the Philippians to replace their anxieties with a profound sense of peace which surpasses all understanding": this is what Bishop Msgr. Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop of Kalookan, who has just taken office as President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said to the faithful. Addressing the assembly in yesterday's Mass, December 12, the Bishop noted that "the true advocates of peace in this world are those who have had to face a lot of odds and adversities. Think, for instance, of other Nobel Peace Prize winners like Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Lech Walesa of Poland, or Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan who had been subjected to so much violence". Maria Ressa asked every citizen in the world the question: "What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?". "Her question sounded to me - the Bishop argued - like that of another courageous truth-teller, John the Baptist. And it reminded me of the words of another bold truth-teller, the prophet Micah, 'You have been told, o mortal, what is good and what the Lord requires of you – only to do justice, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God' (Mic 6:8). The prophets, noted Mgr. David, invite us to "find the good that is already in us", letting emerge "that innate sense of generosity that moves you to share your food with the hungry. That inner sense of justice and compassion that restrains you from exploiting the weak and the vulnerable. That inner sense of truth that will make you hold the line against lies and falsehoods".
The Bishop recalled the key passage of Maria Ressa's speech, held on December 10 in Oslo: "Our greatest need today is to transform that hate and violence, the toxic sludge that’s coursing through our information ecosystem; that just means we have to work harder. We have to believe there is good in the world", she said, noting that "our humanity makes miracles happen".
Mgr. David appreciated that Maria Ressa warned the world against narratives founded on lies, repeated by armies of trolls on social media that, in the end, take the place of the truth.
These techniques often manage to shape public opinion, and threaten the very life of democracies. In this framework, the Bishop asserted, "God sends us people who are like little sparks of light that give us a glimpse of hope in the midst of darkness". In the season of Advent, he continued, "we live a glimpse of the future in the present, and a resolve to work for its realization for the sake of the next generation". "The light, for us, is the divinity shining out in the humanity of Jesus Christ. It is what John the Baptist prepared for. Through the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those in darkness in the shadow of death. And to guide our feet into the way of peace", concluded Mgr, David. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/12/2021)