Duterte takes on the fifth estate

Rody Duterte (AKP Images/Keith Bacongco )
Standard

IT’S NOT just rare, it’s practically unheard of for any Filipino politician to be critical of the Catholic Church, much less to call its bishops names. Soliciting its support during and after elections; maintaining a respectful silence even when they disagree with its bishops’ pronouncements; meekly nodding their heads in submission; providing bishops SUVs for “missionary work” and other favors; and even outright approval of Church collaboration with dictatorship, have been the most common forms of politician and government engagement with the Church—to which they’re likely to belong, anyway, 80 percent of Filipinos being Catholic.

Continue reading

Our father

Standard

IN RESPONSE to the Bacolod diocese’s hanging up a streamer urging voters to reject those candidates for the Senate whom it referred to as “Team Patay” (The Death Team) for voting for the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354), or the RH bill, a text message supposedly from a group called Buklod ng Malayang Pilipino (Unity of Free Filipinos) has accused five priests of the diocese of siring children.

Continue reading

Fast food faithful

Standard

THE resignation of Joseph Ratzinger from the Papacy won’t please the ultra-conservatives dominant in the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Unless someone like-minded becomes Pope, it will be, for them, one of the most distressing events of all since Pope John XXIII sat on the throne of Peter from 1958 to 1963 and introduced a wave of reforms that among other consequences encouraged the rise of liberation theology and the involvement of nuns and priests in social movements. (Not incidentally was Ratzinger particularly hostile to this part of John XXIII’s legacy.)

The ultra-conservatives recently demonstrated their influence over such secular entities as the country’s courts and its laws (they succeeded in getting tour guide Carlos Celdran convicted of “offending religious feelings” for holding up a placard with the word “Damaso” on it during a church gathering in Manila). They’ve also threatened to campaign against those candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives who supported, or worse, were among the sponsors of Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.

Continue reading

Understanding

Standard

NOT all of them bought Pajeros, a sport utility vehicle ( SUV) manufactured by Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors; some bought even more expensive SUVs and pick-up trucks, and others cheaper Asian utility vehicles (AUVs) with funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Erroneously tagged by the media as “the Pajero 7,” some of these bishops of the Catholic Church are asking for “understanding,” in tacit admission that their use of public funds might have been neither legal nor moral.

Some of the country’s bishops also asked for understanding when the world-wide sex scandals involving the clerical abuse of children erupted during the papacy of John Paul II, making this the second time in less than a decade when the allegedly spiritual and moral betters of the Filipino people have asked poor sinners for sympathy.

Continue reading

Sins of the Padres

Standard

MOST Filipinos who’ve gone to high school or who’re in college know who the “Damaso” in Carlos Celdran’s streamer was, because of Republic Act 1425, the Rizal Law, which requires the teaching of the life and works of Jose Rizal in all Philippine schools, colleges and universities.

Intramuros tour guide Celdran held up his streamer during a mass at the Manila Cathedral while shouting that the Church should keep out of politics. The Catholic Church has ratcheted up its opposition to any reproductive health bill in response to the support for whatever means of family planning couples prefer that President Benigno Aquino III expressed during his US visit. Church spokespersons have threatened to call for civil disobedience among the faithful and at one point suggested that Mr. Aquino could be excommunicated for indirectly supporting abortion.

Continue reading