Diary of Augusto Caesar Espiritu

Friday, September 22, 1972

In the evening, I attended the opening ceremonies of the international seminar of the Asian Leadership Development Center (ALDEC) at the Ellinwood Social Hall. This is sponsored by the Asia Committee of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), based in Tokyo, and it is participated in by young Christian leaders, Protestant and Catholic, from 12 countries in Asia. I gave the welcome greetings, as chairman of the Asia Committee, and as a host in the Philippines.

I was somewhat taken aback by the “greetings” of the “reformed” Student Christian Movement, now led by radical Catholic and Protestant youths. To be sure, the new reading of the gospel for our times should find in it the promised liberation for the oppressed; Jesus himself had gone to the synagogue and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah these words:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom
for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

However, what was read this evening sounded more like a revolutionary manifesto on “national liberation” from Mao’s red book than the promise of liberation in the Good Book.

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