Firstly, I believe, feel and think that any priest/pastor, etc. has the right to speak out against politicians. My understanding and interpretation of the Constitutional Article II Section 6 and Article III Section 5 on the "separation of church and state," which we native Filipinos essentially copied from the American Constitution, do not prohibit such. They specifically prohibit the State, i.e. government, from declaring/establishing one as official religion.
Having said that and given our homeland realities where the Roman Catholic Church/Christian religion (RCC) is dominant. I find that, for the most period of our Filipino history then and now, this religious institution was/is a major obstacle in the struggle for the "common good."
This election time as in the past, the RCC hierarchy has "discerned" (its favorite term), spoken for, preached its meek faithful followers towards and supported candidates whom it perceives as religious, pious, close to the RCC hierarchy, etc.
Conversely, the RCC spoke against those candidates who it considers "disrespectful" of the Pope, speaking "bad words," making "dirty" jokes; for planned parenthood, sexually immoral, etc. The RCC, it seems to me, is "too sex-oriented." Get my drift? I will not expound here as I have already written some blog postings re RCC or Christian religion as practiced in our homeland.
And look at what kind of governance/results we native Filipinos, who like sheeps, had after voting per RCC recommendations. The two RCC-supported presidential candidates in recent decades (Cora Aquino and Gloria Arroyo). These two supposedly religious, prayerful, church-going, nun-nurtured/educated women from the expensive, elitist Catholic schools did not really improve the socioeconomic lot of our native majority (except themselves, their family clan and ilks). Instead their rule as presidents, 6 and 9 years respectively, further paved the "road to perdition" for our fellow native Filipinos. I am not saying that our other presidents then and now are much better (that's another topic). Ad nauseam.
The RCC (with few exceptions) and its competitor spin-offs of disillusioned Catholic faithful, who in turn joined the colonist US-export: mainline Protestantism and belatedly the latter's more fundamentalist wing which mimics the American Holiness Pentecostal Movement, both actively withdrew from social concerns (the "common good") that matter; and in lieu promoted their spirituality to be concentrated back to the inward, meditative-self; whereby unknowingly imitating the monks and convent nuns; and outwardly displaying "holier-than-thou" show of piety, religiosity, etc. Attend to and save oneself, forget the social justice issues; that latter is not the ticket to heavenly paradise.
Knowing the Protestants history and their movement's foundational doctrines, I do not expect the mainline Protestants and their Pentecostal faithful to pursue anything beyond "personal salvation," as their fundamental beliefs system dictates that "good works" are not necessary for salvation; just be "born again," password Jesus.
Makes me think why even pray when being "born again" saves one for eternal bliss per their interpretation of the Jesus narrative (New Testament) and some picked story lines from the Hebrew Testament of an apparently insecure, praise-hungry, angry, and vengeful God.
Tough luck for those who never heard of JC, that is, pagans and their descendants; or those who do not accept the story. For these infidels, Dante's Eternal Hell fire and the Devil/Satan/Lucifer and those thinkers who preceded these non-followers regardless of reasons await them. Contrast to RCC belief that "good works" can help the believers' salvation.
A cafeteria Christianity combo narrative produces a Religion of Fear. Be like children to the authoritarian God of the Old/Hebrew Testament and the Good News of JC's loving sacrifice from the New Testament. Amid this confusing combo, Choose one.
Essentially paramount to them all and the RCC charismatic variety is the pursuit of "personal salvation" for the supposed afterlife heavenly gates, and not actively attending to and participating in the present here-and-now struggles for "social justice." For today's RCC, the "old" social justice-directed, such as village self-help movement, Basic Christian Communities/BCC organization were muzzled as they were characterized by ruling elites as “communist” or “leftist” because they, like Marxist movements, seek to ameliorate the suffering of the poor. The RCC concurred, saw it as too radical and changed it to a more hierarchy-controllable Basic Ecumenical Communities/BEC.
By the way, what was that love-talk from Jesus (love of neighbor, and God, right ? per JC) I guess we'll just knell and pray, and let the heavenly angels do the needed work for attaining the "common good." Lip service is good enough. Praying is easy, it can be done anywhere; even while having a party; but not struggle or stand with the poor, rowdy, smelly native majority for their tiny place under the sun.
Without going any further, I would say that if the RCC in our homeland speaks out, it should be ready to hear those who speak against them. It's supposedly a democracy now, not the friars' time to lord over as in the 16th to early 20th century. But of course, our RCC believes, pontificates and acts as if it is still in that era, anachronistic frame of mind.
- Bert M Drona
Some of my postings in my blog:THE FILIPINO MIND
- OUR RELIGION IN SOCIETY: (Belief Systems)
- Our Filipino Kind of Religion & Use at Desperate Times
- Our Filipino Christianity and Our God-concept
- When Our Religion Becomes Evil
- Split-level Christianity, "Theory versus Practice," Part 1 of 2
- Split-level Christianity, "Theory versus Practice,"Part 2 of 2
- Our Filipino Norm of Morality
Below photo of book cover:
ALTAR OF SECRETS by Aries Rufo. First kind of book by fellow Filipino that critiqued the RCC. Pretty informative.