By Dean Jorge Bocobo
From the point of view of the Democracy and the Constitution, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) as an institution is what we call a Non-government Organization (NGO). Just like the Communist Party of the Philippines, or Greenpeace, or an ideologically driven newspaper like the Philippine Daily Innuendo (all of whom support and find common cause with it), the RCC has taken very definite positions on the fulcrum issues of Philippine society, and just like them deserves to be scrutinized for the validity, reasonability and consequences of its policies and actions. In the next few weeks I propose to do just that in several key areas:
(1) I've already begun with its position on Population policy, which I think bears important significance on the long-term economic prospects of the country...
(2) In the economic realm, the Church has adopted entirely regressive policies on such key issues as mining, genetically modified organisms, nuclear power and globalization, which deserve to be examined and understood in the light of its apparent adoption of radical, fear-mongering environmentalism as a secular component of its religious tenets.
(3) In politics, it has aligned itself with the liberal fascist policies of the Arroyo administration and holds captive a large part of the electorate by acting as a de facto political party, uber alles, of which all the other parties are mere factions (think about it!). [...]
(4) In education, the Catholic Church completely dominates the private school sectors, powerfully influences the public school system (since it trains virtually all the teachers and functionaries that run it!) and sabotages science education along the lines that conform to its reactionary world view and sentimentally looks back upon Spanish Taliban times as its halcyon days of complete domination in this field.
(5) In religion and morals, the RCC is an almost complete failure, both in its teaching magisterium and in the example set by its hierarchy. It does not teach Christianity at the level of Biblical study, but rather concentrates on liturgical extravaganzas that have weekly, monthly, seasonal and holiday components, and as in the days of yore, utilizes sacraments and ceremonies as cultural artifacts that circumscribe Filipino social life. [...]
(6) On social issues, the Church sets the worst example on the matter of GAMBLING, where its corrupt relationship with the PAGCOR represents an entirely unhealthy and demoralizing factor for which its leaders ought to be pilloried and put to shame. [...]
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"Yes, the Church is archaic, antiquated, stupid, etc.'"
Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Fernando R. Capalla
Dear Bishop Rimando, Msgr. Vicente, Rev. Fathers, Religious Men and Women, and Catholic Lay Faithful:
Greetings in the Risen Lord!
Recently, and also not too long ago, some of our city officials and newspaper columnists were reported as saying that the Church’s moral teaching on the family, reproductive health, population, and related matters are “archaic,” “antiquated,” “stupid.” If the media report is correct, I must say they are right: the Church’s moral teaching is synonymously foolish, obsolete, and outmoded.
They are right because their comments, on their face value, confirm what St. Paul had said centuries ago to the people of Corinth in Greece: that he was preaching the stupidity or foolishness of the cross of Jesus Christ (1Cor. 1:21) Who and His teaching are “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrew 13:8).
These comments, which we think are sincere but ignorant, are not a surprise. We expected them always. For today, as in the time of Christ and the Apostles, the nature of family, procreation, health, population and related matters are seen and considered from a different perspective or, as the educators would say, from a worldview so much different and even opposed to ours.
Their view considers human life as pure matter. We say it is both matter and spirit or, as our Catechism says, human life is body and soul, and we are embodied souls. While the body is created by secondary factors through what is known as genetic evolution, the soul is directly created by God as revealed in Sacred Scriptures. Hence human life and human society together with its legal, political, economic, cultural, and religious dimensions are also governed by God’s moral laws which must be respected and observed.
The City Council’s adoption by majority vote of the Local Development Plan for Children of Davao City, 2007-2010 has raised serious questions on the morality and acceptability of its principles and implementing mechanisms and procedures. In our Pastoral Statement of 12 April 2008 we told the City Mayor and the City Council that under the guise of reproductive health and safe pregnancy the Plan mocks parental authority, belittles the value of family, denigrates the virtue of chastity, makes available all contraceptives to children from 0 – 18 years old, and promotes pre-marital sex and promiscuity. Because of this the Church cannot be silent but must object relentlessly and courageously, whether She is listened to or not. Our silence may be construed as consenting to an immoral act which is dangerous and detrimental to the moral and spiritual welfare of our people especially our families and children.
The City Council’s questionable Resolution is, among other things, a clear wake-up call to all Catholics – the clergy, religious, and laity. It is a serious and urgent call for us to prepare our people for its implementation. For this reason we have to intensify our evangelization programs, especially that part of our Pastoral Plan which is the moral education and conscience formation of our People especially the young and the children. Towards this objective the following diocesan structures and offices are hereby enjoined to make a concrete, collective, systematic, and implementable steps under the supervision of the Office of the Vicars General:
1.The Diocesan Pastoral Office under Bishop George Rimando;
2.The Office of the Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools under Fr. Julius Rodulfa;
3.The Office of the Vicar for the Clergy under Msgr. Martiniano Gorgonio;
4.The Office of the Vicar for Religious under Fr. Patrice Picard, PME;
5.The Office of the Archdiocesan Council for Lay Associations and Integrated Movements (ACLAIM) under Msgr. Paul Cuison and Dr. Mike Manalaysay.
On this point of effective preparedness, our Christian response and conduct must be according to the following advice of the first pope, St. Peter the Apostle, who wrote:
“Simply proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong” (1Peter 3:15-17).
May Mary, our Blessed Mother and the Star of the New Evangelization, guide us in our struggle to make Jesus Christ and His moral teaching known and loved because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
"A fire of testing has come to the Catholic church – to the Philippines for now, to the rest of the world later; for these days are a season of testing." Quoted from my old blog entry on 12/17/2007.