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My Social Credit apostolate in the Philippines

Written by Melvin Sickler on Friday, 01 October 2004. Posted in Social Credit apostolate

The months of October and November, 2004, I spent in the Philippines as a guest of Bishop Benjamin Almoneda in the diocese of Daet, Camarines Norte. Bishop Almoneda had attended our International Congress last September and had invited me to come to the Philippines to introduce the philosophy of Social Credit to the people in his diocese.

Extreme poverty and misery

The financial situation of the Philippines at this time is very grave. Their President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has spoken openly often about the plight of the Filipino people, lamenting the fact that about 40% of their federal budget now goes just to pay interest to the IMF. And they continue to borrow more money from the IMF. Over 15 million Filipino people are on the verge of starvation, and millions more are struggling daily just for survival. The people will do anything and everything, even giving their children over to prostitution, in order to survive.

One doctor had asked me why I came to the Philippines to do apostolate work, because it is one of the poorest countries in the world (this doctor having no money to give me for a donation). I simply replied that that is the very reason I came: to teach the people how they could correct the financial system of the country with the philosophy of Social Credit to get out of their poverty. I explained how the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has requested the cancellation of the Third World debts, even going so far as to write a papal encyclical on this very subject.

In the conferences I held, I would ask the following question to the people: "Why could not the Government of the Philippines create its own money without interest, according to the production and services rendered in the country, instead of borrowing its money at interest from private bankers who create it out of thin air by writing numbers in ledger books?" Everyone would sit in silence, as they had never had such a proposition being presented to them before. I went further and said that the Philippines could become one of the richest and most prosperous countries in the world if the Social Credit philosophy would be applied into its laws. All that is needed is apostles to educate the people on this subject.

Social Credit apostolate

During my two months in the country, I visited with many business people at their business establishments, showing them cartoons and samples of our leaflets on the Social Credit philosophy. With great happiness also showed them the endorsement that Bishop Almoneda had signed which gave me permission to visit all the people of his diocese. And the Bishop assigned two men of his staff, Mr. Javenson Alarcon and Mr. Vicente Emmanuel Atienza, to accompany me, being they knew the local language. It was not uncommon for a little group of people to gather around us to listen as we showed our Social Credit cartoons and explained how we are working to get a better financial system to help all the people of the country. They did not have much money to give for donations, being many of them were struggling themselves to make their daily living, but they certainly did benefit from our contacts.

Bishop Almoneda assigned me to hold Social Credit meetings with the parishes throughout his diocese, each meeting having representatives from one section of parishes. It was at these meetings that we broke the ice, so to speak, introducing to the people for the first time the Social Credit philosophy. We would read excerpts from Social Credit articles together, and we would hold question and answer sessions so the people could better understand our work.

Leaflet distribution was also organized at all the churches in the diocese, the Bishop having sent a letter to all the priests requesting that it be announced at all the Sunday Masses that he, himself, was endorsing the Social Credit apostolate and that he wanted every family to take a leaflet home with them. On days when I would be without a companion, I would also distribute leaflets in the neighbouring homes, walking for miles in mazes of little streets where I would find the huts of the poorest of the poor. In my heart, I was happy that I could give them some hope for a better future with our Social Credit literature.

The Bishop's apostolate

Before coming to Canada, Bishop Almoneda had sent "The Money Myth Exploded" leaflet to all the Bishops in the Philippines with his Christmas greetings. The Apostolic Nuncio of the Philippines was the first to thank him for this leaflet. The Bishop now plans to have this leaflet translated into the local Filipino language.

Bishop Almoneda made it a point to speak about Social Credit to everyone he came in contact with. During my stay in his diocese, he attended a meeting with his colleagues, the Bishops of the Bical Region, and explained the Social Credit philosophy to them. He left them leaflets and books on Social Credit. (I had a chance to visit later with Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi of the diocese of Caceres who had attended this meeting, and he was already well informed about our Social Credit apostolate.)

The Bishop sent Social Credit literature to the President of the Philippines, receiving a reply from the Department of Budget and Management questioning the idea of Social Credit. Bishop Almoneda and myself wrote out a reply to all of his objections, and sent it back to him.

From October 20-27, the Bishop attended the conference of seminary formators in Manila where he gave 250 priests from all over the Philippines literature on Social Credit.

Within his own diocese, he would hold sessions with his priests on the importance of Social Credit to put into application the social doctrine of the Church, and he would ask them to also subscribe to the "Michael" Journal. (Myself, I spoke twice to his diocesan priests at one of their monthly meetings.)

Bishop Almoneda would speak often in his sermons during Masses on the importance of Social Credit, helping the people to understand that this is part of our Faith: to work to alleviate world poverty.

Before I left the diocese, Bishop Almoneda called in a television crew to make a tape for local television stations on the program of the diocese to fight poverty. Of course, I gave an explanation of the work of "Michael" during this one-hour taping, which the Bishop repeated in the local language.

Santiago City, Isabela

Last summer, while doing apostolate work in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, I met a Filipino by the name of Rex Casdanede who had invited me to come to his part of the Philippines. So I had a chance to work with Mr. Casdanede in the northern part of the country before I left the Philippines, holding little meetings with his friends and acquaintances. To my delight, they all subscribed to the "Michael" Journal and showed an interest in coming to our headquarters next spring for our "Siege of Jericho". They want very much to distribute leaflets in their locality to get others interested in the work of "Michael". I had the privilege to visit with their local Bishop, Most. Rev. Sergio L. Utleg, D.D., who gave permission to distribute our leaflets in the parishes of his diocese. Although I was only there for a few days, I knew in my heart that when I return, I will find some solid Social Credit apostles.

With Our Lady and Saint Michael

I cannot close without giving a special thank you to all the wonderful people who so graciously assisted me and helped to support the work of "Michael". Only Heaven will be able to properly reward you for all of your efforts and sacrifices.

We will pray to Our Lady of the Rosary to make the apostolate of "Michael" flourish, not only in the Philippines, but in the whole world. And with the sword of Saint Michael the Archangel, we will obtain the victory over Satan, the ruthless king of the financial system that oppresses the poor. Long live "Michael"!

About the Author

Melvin Sickler

Melvin Sickler

Melvin Sickler is a remarkable apostle. He does the door-to-door Rosary Crusade all over Canada and the United States to solicit subscriptions to Michael, and hold meetings.

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