By Leslie Ann Aquino
A Catholic prelate said it is in moments of crisis like the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that we see what kind of leaders we have.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the difficult times show which leaders really have the “good of the people at heart, which are ready to go out of their way to protect and guide the people, or which leaders think only of themselves or do not care much about their responsibilities.”
“This is also true in this coronavirus pandemic. We see what kind of leaders we have not only here in the Philippines, but in other countries as well. Not only political leaders, but also among business and religious leaders as well,” he said in his homily during his online mass for Good Shepherd Sunday.
“The consequences of their leadership or lack of it are enormous. It could spell the health or even the lives of their people. Their decisions impact the economic well-being of their constituents. They can make the lives of their people hard or healthy in the long run,” Pabillo added.
In times of crisis, he said, people also long for leaders who are “transparent.”
“They have confidence when they see their leaders doing the right things and there are no hidden agenda behind their decisions. Transparency is very much promoted when the leaders are clear in the instructions and directions that they give,” Pabillo said.
“It would be a big help if leaders can be clear in their statements. Many statements are vague. A lot being said sometimes [is] irrelevant…is it because the one talking is confused, there is a different agenda, or simply [does] not care if the people understand it or not,” he added.
Pabillo said a good leader is not only transparent and clear in his instructions, but is also one who sets himself as an example to follow, and leads the way.
“The good shepherd does not push the sheep to a direction. He leads the way because the sheep trust him, they follow behind him. They trust him because he goes first where he first wants the sheep to go. As the saying goes, he walks the talk,” he said.
After the mass, Pabillo said, people should assess their leaders if they are up to the standards of Jesus the good shepherd.
“If we compare our leaders to Jesus, the good shepherd, they are far from his standards, even the leaders in the church,” he said. “Let us pray that God may send good shepherds to his church.”