Malasakit is the Filipino expression for compassion, which implies a high form of offering of self to others. Malasakit aptly expresses the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) notion of the Church of the Poor. Herein, the PCP II, hopes to disturb the privileged in the present social order by standing against unjust and oppressive structures in the Philippine society that exploit the poor. Malasakit, and its implications to the Church of the Poor are deeply rooted in the Filipino experience of sociality, specifically in the concept of kapwa. Kapwa means “shared identity,” which denotes compassion in the sense of being a being for others. Therefore, one becomes a kapwa in the practice of malasakit, which implies the transcendence of reciprocal relationships by entering into sacrifice, which is pointed out in the tradition of bayanihan: a representation of the willingness of every Filipino to offer one’s shoulder to help ease the burden of a fellow human being. These local notions richly imply the kind of conversion and solidarity demanded by the Church of the Poor. In view of the foregoing, this paper intends to undertake the following discussions: analysis of the terms malasakit and kapwa; exposition of the PCP II’s concept of the Church of the Poor; and lastly, contextualization PCP II’s concept of the Church of the Poor using the terms malasakit and kapwa.
Malasakit, Kapwa, Ecclesiology
Religious Commonalities and Differences
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Assistant Professor, Institute of Religion, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines
My research interests are in the area of systmatic theology, intercultural theology, philosophy, indigenous religious practices. I teach theology, in the undergraduate and graduate school of the University of Santo Tomas. I am currently working on my second doctorate, majoring this time in philosophy.