Resist those that oppress and cause injustice against needy, Cardinal Advincula says in World Day of the Poor message.
The archbishop of Manila has called on Filipinos to resist forces of evil and structures that oppress and cause injustice against the poor.
Cardinal Jose Advincula challenged them to not only care for the poor but also to eradicate the causes of poverty in the Philippines. His comments came as part of his World Day of the Poor message on Nov. 14.
World Day of the Poor was established by Pope Francis in his apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera (Misery and Mercy) in 2016 during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It falls each year on the 33rd Sunday.
Cardinal Advincula urged Catholics to fight structural sins that make the poor poorer.
“Let us fight any force and structure of oppression, exploitation and the use of the poor to advance their selfish interests and welfare,” he later told Catholic-run Radyo Veritas.
Cardinal Advincula said stopping social evils like poverty and corruption was never easy because it required the sacrifice of one’s greed.
“It begins with greed. When one feels that he needs to acquire more than what is needed like money, material possessions and fame, then he begins to forget others and focuses only on himself,” he said.
On Nov. 15, Cardinal Advincula spearheaded a dialogue with marginalized people in Manila where he reminded the poor not to vote for politicians who remembered them only in the time of election.
“When we just remember the poor, and put them on center stage because it’s election time or because it’s the World Day of the Poor, we are more miserable than them,” he said.
“When we recognize poverty in our midst, we learn how to care for and develop sympathy with our neighbor.”
Cardinal Advincula invited people to support projects of the Catholic Church’s social action arm Caritas to make sure their donations go to the poor.
Meanwhile, Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said the organization had distributed more than 400 million pesos (US$7.9 million) worth of gift certificates donated to Caritas by benefactors.
Father Pascual said he was instructed by Cardinal Advincula to distribute them to more than 3,000 poor families in Manila.
Cardinal Advincula said that the poor were not “ simply numbers” to be fed but “real people” that needed care from and the generosity of society.
“Sadly, we see reports referring to poor people as part of charts or tables. They were reduced to mere numbers instead of treating them as reality. We were so busy living an abundant life that we ourselves have forgotten how it is to be poor,” said Cardinal Advincula.
“Yet poverty is an internal discipline of detachment from material things to make us freer in loving the Lord. That’s why in Mary’s Magnificat they are favored by God. ‘He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty’” said the Cardinal, quoting Mary’s Magnificat.