Counting the Chickens before they are Hatched

Image Source: John 15 Rocks Center

The discourse that developed around the denial of permission to set up higher secondary schools seems to have got trapped in the spectre of absence.  It seems to have opened up several lacunae or voids that have ultimately voided the need of opening educational opportunities to our Children. This experience can teach us how the perception of lack whether real or imaginary   can trigger us to think, feel and even act in ways we may not understand rationally. Any kind of perception or an intense sense of lack draws a Psychodynamic response.  A sense of lack brings us to a heightened awareness of loss which in its turn produces a response that seeks to recover that which is lost. The reigning BJP with many of its U-turns and anti-minority policies has only produced a tremendous sense of unease among the majority of our Goans. It has fired up a sense of loss which doubles up into a kind of loss of faith in the ruling dispensation.   The denial of permission to Church governed educational institutions to open infrastructure for our underprivileged children of Goa has rubbed salt on already bruised wounds. Most Catholics have begun to feel a void induced by a sense of betrayal by the reigning leader of the BJP.  But, to construe that this sense of loss will push the Church to Congress is like looking for the chicks before they are hatched. Such a thought that thinks that the Church will directly orchestrate movement that will only settle for Congress is wishful thinking.  It suggests that Catholics are mindless dummies or puppets whose strings are pulled by the Church to become a kingmaker in the political scenario of Goa.  Hence, this suggestion itself adds insult to the injury and seems to oversimplify the role of the Church in the political arena.

The Church is no Kingmaker but a conscience keeper of our society. One cannot deny the role of the Church in providing guidelines for the Catholic electorate during several elections. They were mere guidelines and never had any compelling power.  Recent discourse that seem to suggest that the Church will support Congress emerges from the uneasy feeling triggered by a lack produced by the ruling BJP. The ruling BJP appears wanting (and therefore lacking) on several fronts. But to suggest that to fill this void, the Catholics would necessary tilt to the Congress is preposterous and do not seem to respect the freedom and political acumen of the Catholics of Goa.   The electoral behaviour of the Catholics cannot be so easily predicted. Moreover, the Church does not make decisions to support a definite Party. It only draws broad outlines based on the common good for Goa and Goans.  The electoral guidelines have always proposed to the people to reflect and vote freely and consciously to bring about a collective good of the people of Goa.  The promotion of the common good has been the backbone of Catholic social teachings for a long time.  Feeling the ethical imperative to guide the formation of good conscience among the people, the Church has always raised questions on communal, corrupt leaders and their parties. But have never issued directives to vote any specific party into power. 

The official Church has the right and duty to guide its flock so that it can make a free and enlightened decision when it comes to the exercise of their voting rights. The Church has the duty to bring the light of the Gospel on the political scene but has never done anything arbitrary to suit the powers that be. The suggestion that the Church will support Congress even before the Congress has tabled its candidates and declared its manifesto is certainly naive and only provide the corrupt in our society to feel they can table any kind of candidates and the Church has no option for the communal BJP will blindly embrace them. Catholics do not vote blindly without any consideration about the party, its past history, candidates and manifesto. Who can tell that Congress will not field the same old faces based on what is called the winnability factor and even choose to brazen it out once again by opening its doors to family Raj.  Hence, this suggests that the Church even while playing its role as a conscience keeper will automatically move to support the Congress party because it has to choose the devil and the deep sea only empowers the politics of status quo and in no way reflects the way of Church in guiding her flock. For sake of Goa and its entire people, it is right that Church continues its ongoing reflection without placing any of its cards on the table.        

The principle of the common good is the one that will be the guiding light for the Church to issue lamp posts for the people of Goa when the opportune time comes. The principle of common good is the integral part of the Catholic social teaching will help her to discern what will promote the Good of Goa and Goans. Besides, a continues and alert awakening to the realities of the people  and the  assessment of the political scenario and the so called programmes of development based on sound developmental indices, the Church  waits to  considers the kind of candidates  that would be presented to people  as well the party manifesto of  all parties in the fray. Over the years,   one may notice that the approach of the Church has been primarily Goa–centric with equal openness to the good of our country, communal harmony and peace, protection of human rights and primacy of the good of the human person and ecology. All political interventions of the official Church have been based on these principles which are themselves derived from the primacy of common good. Hence, in the post-colonial times, the Church in Goa has demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that she has Goa and its people close to her heart. Therefore, it would be wrong to count the chickens before they are hatched.  The Catholics are political intelligent, please keep them free to surprise us. We may agree that BJP has to go.  But who has to come in? Let us wait to make this powerful decision.  Let the opportune time come. Goan’s Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and others will save Goa for Goans. 

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GREETINGS

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao