The new head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Wednesday lamented what he described as growing “escapism” among many Filipinos.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who just assumed as CBCP president on Tuesday, said such an attitude is “very wrong” especially for those who are only “seduced by troll propaganda in the social media”.
He stressed that having a sense of history is crucial “because we do not want our past mistakes to keep repeating themselves”.
“Otherwise, the ghost of the past can continue to haunt us in the present,” David said in his speech after being conferred the honorary doctor of humanities degree from Holy Angel University in Angeles City.
“We remain in that dark and perpetual state of victimhood that deprives us of a future, because we do not know how to review the past in a manner that lights up our path in the present for the future,” he said.
The Kalookan bishop warned that without a sense of history, “we cannot even develop a good sense of identity”.
In a more grim formulation of an old adage, he did not mince words in saying that “those who do not learn from history are simply doomed”.
David was made an honorary doctor “for his inspirational leadership in the Church and community”.
Aside from his “tireless work of evangelization” as a writer, cultural heritage worker and environmental advocate, the award also cited David’s “courage” to defend the poor and the defenseless.
The university particularly noted the prelate’s vocal stand against the spate of killings in the government’s brutal war on drugs.
The church leader once described his diocese, which covers the cities of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, as a “killing field” as many killings of drug suspects happened in his jurisdiction.
David also expanded his diocese’s mental health ministry to assist the drug war widows and orphans.