When poverty is holy… | The Manila Times

Painting of Saint Francis of Assisi (1642) by Jusepe de Ribera. PUBLIC DOMAIN VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

LIKE everything human, poverty is ambivalent. This can be the cause of disappointment, frustration and even despair. This kind of poverty cannot be holy. This is also the reason why children die at a young age, that many do not have the means to pay hospital and professional bills, that many litigants have to be satisfied with lawyers who pay little attention to their cases. This kind of poverty can be holy, but not necessarily.

Francis teaches us how and why poverty is holy. First, the why. Poverty frees a person from the rat race that consumes many lives. It allows a person to rejoice in all that God provides and to be grateful for the smallest blessings. Above all, poverty expands our vision and allows us to see fulfillment beyond material prosperity.

Poverty is not necessarily a life of misery. In Francis’ own life, poverty was real — but it was joyful! An “option for poverty” is an option that can be made by both the rich and the poor. While materially deprived people may be said to have no choice, the fact is that they do. Many poor people spend their days endlessly calculating how to get rich, or whining and worrying about their poverty or envying the rich or worse, plotting various schemes to get rich without much effort. It cannot be holy.

But when someone, rich or poor, embraces poverty, opts for simplicity in life, chooses the path of having less and giving more, when one is ready to use the goods with which one is blessed to contribute to the building the Kingdom, then such poverty is holy.

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Francis teaches us that poverty is not primarily about having or not having much and wealth. It is a disposition of mind—a disposition that seeks to be more in the eyes of God by giving more to God and to others and keeping less to oneself. It’s not “minimalism” – because minimalism is a fad and, like many fads, will pass after it has had its day. It is the strength of a soul that finds its refuge not in what the world regards as sources of security—but in God and His bountiful love!

* * *

Congresses and courses

Whether classes are held face-to-face or online is not for Congress to decide.

Let’s review the case law: De La Salle University v. Court of Appeal (2007). According to current case law, academic freedom encompasses the independence of an academic institution to determine for itself: 1) who can teach; 2) what can be taught; 3) how he should teach; 4) who can be admitted to studies.

There is nothing new in that. This is the classic Frankfurter judge.

Another case: Camacho v. Coresis (2002). The issue here was precisely whether a university could legitimately award a degree to a student who had never physically attended classes with other students. And the court ruled: “Institutional academic freedom includes the right of the school or college to decide for itself, its aims and objectives and the methods of how best to achieve them, without coercion or outside interference, except possibly when the overriding public welfare calls It includes the freedom to determine for itself on academic grounds: who can teach, what can be taught, how it should be taught, and who can be admitted to study. the school to confirm and validate the teaching Dr. Daleon’s method is immediately apparent in the third freedom, that is, how it should be taught.”

Whether a university organizes courses physically or online, through lectures, through modules, through group discussions, through seminars or any other method is a matter of academic freedom.

In other words, Congress doesn’t have to tell universities and colleges that they have to have face-to-face classes. This violates their academic freedom.

In short, a university may even choose – as in some overseas universities – to require a student to complete a reading list and then be vetted on the readings. It’s all about “how” to teach — and it’s clearly academic freedom!

For the enlightenment of our legislators!


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