The Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
(Central Pangasinan, Philippines)
INTEGRITY, INTEGRAL AND INTEGRATING
Speech delivered by Archbishop Socrates B.Villegas during the Rotary Club meeting and induction ceremonies on July 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm.
Our present President ascended to the highest office of our country with a campaign slogan “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” One year after his oath taking, the Aquino name remains clean and untarnished by any accusation of corruption even in its smallest form. Although not perfect, our President has been conscientiously trying to rise above the perception that all politicians are corrupt and all politics is dirty and no one becomes a politician and stays clean. The example of pious President Cory is another example in history to disprove this mindset. After one year in office, the first word that comes to mind to describe the present national leadership is integrity.
Integrity is wholeness. Integrity is transparency. Integrity requires the interface of words and lifestyle. For us in the Church, integrity is holiness. It is not just about pious thoughts and prayerful practices. Integrity is bringing the gospel we hear at Mass, to the marketplace, to the workplace, to the home. The man of integrity is known not by what he says or does in public. We know who we really are by the thoughts and actions that we do when no one is watching. What you think and what you do in secret reveals who you really are! Some of us do good things not because of goodness but because of shame or the fear of being shamed. The man of integrity does good not for show but from inner principles and conscience. In the end, it is really, and only, God who knows if we have integrity.
Is it enough to be a man of integrity in order to lead? Integrity is a great capital asset in leadership but it is unfortunately not enough. The man of integrity must also be integral. Leadership is not just about moral ascendancy. The child in the school must be innocent and pure but he cannot be president. It takes more than integrity of character to become a leader. Leadership is vision setting too. Leadership without vision is treachery to the governed. Integral leadership also means setting the path towards the future. Those who set their hearts on the plow cannot keep looking back. Leadership is moving forward with excitement. The task of the leader is not only to stay clean and live by integrity. In the “balanced square” of leadership, the other three sides must be economic progress and stability; second, political will and clarity of laws and the third is availability of education and social services. If these three sides are given equal support connected by integrity and blameless living, even integrity itself will become part of our national ethics and the rays of bright future await us.
Is integrity and integral governance enough? May I dare to complete this vision by injecting a final aspect—leadership must be integrating. Leadership must embrace and unite not alienate and divide. Leadership must be a progressive action of seeking communion and making one. Political partisanship is for the campaign and election period. Beyond the oath taking, the leadership must be integrating. It must seek the common ground. It must search for the common denominators. It must seek to unite the many apparently contrasting colors around us and paint a rainbow of harmony in the horizon. Prosecution for previous wrong doings must be carried out to the full but such must be done in pursuit of justice not revenge. Political vendetta divides even more. The true statesman must reach out and seek consensus. The leader is a servant not only of those who support him but even more of those who do not share his vision. The man of integrity must also be a man of unity.
We need integrity of character and an integral public service. We need the spirit of integrity but also a magnanimous integrating spirit to heal all causes of division.
Let us not wait for the leaders up there on top to begin. Let us begin this spirit in our own little realms of influence and leadership. The song says “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” Let there be leadership of integrity with integral service and an integrating spirit and let it begin with me.”
Thank you for listening. Mabuhay!