Is our Christian nation Catholic enough?

24

Given the events of the last three months, this question becomes particularly compelling for us Filipinos, who are mostly Catholic Christians, as Holy Week begins. In mid-January, six million of us gathered at Manila’s Rizal Park to show Pope Francis our deepest affection as he poured himself out in a great apostolic act of mercy, compassion and hope for the poor. Sin and crime appeared to have fled to some distant corner, overwhelmed by the piety and goodness that one could almost touch. We had become a holy people. And yet before January ended, evil reclaimed its space and threatened to cancel all the goodness that had transformed our God-fearing nation. The Mamasapano massacre and all the official lying about it happened.

How does one explain this apparent disconnect? Is it part of the good to force evil from the depths into the open so that the forces of good may subdue it, as when Christ told the Tempter that even the Devil was supposed to submit to God. Or do good and evil normally alternate, each to its own season, as in Ecclesiastes? This is a matter for deep theological reflection, which I am not competent to handle. But with all my limitations, I would like to venture some practical considerations.

The January 25 massacre of 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commandos, in the hands of Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao,while on a lawful mission to “neutralize” three international terrorists believed to be being sheltered by the MILF, with whom the government was supposed to have a ceasefire and a peace agreement, has presented one serious question. How do we respond as a predominantly Catholic Christian nation? Or, put it another way, what kind of response would show that we are, as we claim to be, a truly Catholic Christian nation?

So far we have not responded in this manner. The Aquino government’s response has not shown any Catholic Christian element in it: it has made a mockery of the truth which Jesus our Lord says shall set us free. Whenever the truth is perverted, the Church cannot have several ways of reacting to it. But she has not responded as a Church. Some bishops have responded admirably according to the teaching of the Church, but some others have been rather slow in seeing that justice requires PNoy to answer for his evident and undeniable culpability.


In most civilized countries, as we have pointed out in this space several times before, the death of 44 law enforcers after their intended reinforcement had been ordered to stand down would have prompted the head of government to automatically step down, without waiting for a single widow or orphan to call for it. He would most probably have submitted to a trial under the Articles of War too. And every moral or religious leader worth their salt, whatever their confession, would have supported such “resignation,” as the only right thing to do to help bind the nation’s wounds, and salvage whatever is left of the government’s honor, or the president’s own.

Ironically, the view from one of our most eminent Catholic clerics, while Aquino was being comforted by some Protestant politico-religious leaders in Malacañang, was that there is no need for him to step down to assume even the mere moral responsibility for the tragedy. In his view, the country should simply wait for the 2016 presidential election, without regard to PNoy’s mental condition and the fact that the next election promises to merely replicate the 2010 and 2013 elections, which Smartmatic, the Venezuelan private election provider, conducted on behalf of the Comelec, using the PCOS voting machine after it had been divested of all security features and accuracy mechanisms, contrary to law.

From his “kindred spirit,” as Aquino referred to our episcopal friend during the Pope’s call at Malacañang last January, the beleaguered President received a long-distance episcopal absolution without need of an actual confession, penance or restitution, despite his having made the only unprovoked toxic remark against the Church as a whole and against some unnamed Churchmen during that visit.

That 44 commandos were massacred after they had been denied reinforcement by the commander who did not have to command the operation, is but the first question. The real question, which far outweighs the first, is whether the entire Aquino officialdom, with virtually no exception, needed to tell all those lies just to try to absolve Aquino of any accountability for the massacre. Should the Truth and the honor of the nation be sacrificed for one man’s ego, hubris, megalomania or possible psychological disorder?

This tells us whether or not we have it in ourselves to act as a truly Catholic Christian nation. Lying has never been a Catholic Christian virtue, and Catholics know Satan as “the father of all lies. ” Yet we have allowed ourselves to be “led” (at least in theory) by a pagan “leader” who has lied and encouraged others to lie just to evade criminal responsibility. This has made a complete lie of the Aquino presidency.

But this has not happened overnight; it has its own sordid history.

In 2012, Aquino used the notorious pork barrel system to bribe the corrupt members of Congress not only to impeach and remove the sitting Chief Justice, but also to force the enactment of a constitutionally infirm anti-Catholic Reproductive Health Law that puts the state in control of the procreative faculties of married (and even unmarried) individuals and couples.

Today, Aquino’s puppets in Congress are trying to railroad, without any noteworthy public participation, the backdoor legalization of same-sex “unions” and divorce, and the decriminalization of adultery, while public attention is focused on Mamasapano. One wonders how long will it take, if Aquino stays longer in office, before he calls for the criminalization of virginity, chastity and natural (heterosexual) marriage. Or advances any other heathen proposal meant to offend and scandalize the moral majority. He has taken a madman’s delight in having been able to impose a wretched RH law on all Filipinos, against the Constitution, against their customs and consciences, and against the valid objections of the Catholic Church. And now he relishes telling the nation a new set of reinforced lies each time he speaks about Mamasapano and pins his own accountability on his favored scapegoat.

Upon assuming the presidency, the late Czech playwright Vaclac Havel told his people, “I hope you did not propose me for this office so that I could lie to you. ” Aquino is the exact opposite of that. He lies quite openly. He has made mendacity the defining principle of his rule from Day One. And this has grown to epic proportions with Mamasapano. While refusing the House invitation to appear in its hearing after Easter, he has not hesitated to give public speeches on the same subject where no one could tell him his story just can’t stand.

In fairness to all concerned, no one has accused Aquino of having sent the 44 SAF commandos to Mamasapano purposely to get wiped out. Before the official lies ran out of control, critics simply accused him of having converted a legitimate police operation into a personal adventure, where he took certain officials out of the PNP chain of command and inserted an illegal personality (the suspended PNP chief) in their place, and of having denied reinforcement to the ill-starred commandos. His deed was not as dark as that of King David, who sent Uriah the Hittite to get killed at the front so that he could have the beautiful Bathsheba all to himself upon her husband’s death. But while David repented his unspeakable deed, as Psalm 50 (the Miserere) shows us, Aquino would rather excoriate his chosen scapegoat than apologize to the nation or the victims’ families for his excess.

The attempt to cover up has far exceeded his original offense, as in Richard Nixon’s Watergate, for which the US president was forced to quit, to avoid impeachment.

This does not befit the leader of any country, much less a predominantly Catholic one. Neither does it justify any Catholic Christian cleric or layman simply looking the other way while the most brazen lies are being flung around, all over the place. As the first and final defender of Truth, the Church cannot afford to see the truth being jettisoned in favor of the most terrible lies for the most appalling ends.

The Church needs to make a stand. It is sad that she has not. This cannot be good for anyone. The Church hierarchy must act as one and declare that it cannot continue supporting a government that is built on lies. Unless it did this soon, many might be tempted to believe our nation is not Catholic enough.

fstatad@gmail.com

Share.
.
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

24 Comments

  1. Justaskingseriously on

    Republic Act 9369 or Automated Elections. Comelec is raring to lift the TRO on the midnight deal with smartmatic. Comelec lawyers and even the C3E lawyer are in a bind.

    There is an urgent need to mobiize the House and Senate to change or revise R.A. 9369. Have the NTC focus their efforts towards getting the representatives and senators to make Comelec follow a revised election law that allows manual counting on the precinct level or something to that effect so that the election watchers can actually watch the results on the local level.

    The way it looks now, it would be a big waste of time and opportunity to “persuade” the whole catholic hierarchy to at least make a statement. It is actually a good thing that the catholic church is in no way a block like the INC. Democracy is necessarily a plurality and a free society. You can see this plurality in action when you read about the cardinal in Mindanao urging for the passage of the Babala despite the majority of the Mindanaoans’ rejection of the BBL.

    Action is needed now to persuade Congress to revise the election law R.A. 9369! Once Congress presents a new law for BSA’s signature, then everybody can see what he will do or not. His true intentions will be revealed: to sign or not to sign. That is his dilemma. Comelec’s reaction to a change in the automated election law will also reveal their heart. The nation can then make a very big deal – a movement really – if the revised law is not signed in time for the 2016 elections.

  2. Is our Christian nation Catholic enough?

    Wrong question, Mr, Tatad. The question is “Is the catholic Philippines Christian enough?” The answer is definitely a resounding NO! Perhaps, never been truly Christian. Many catholics make confessions on Saturday, receive communion on Sunday. And repeat the usual sins again on Monday until the Saturday confession. Perhaps, they even lie in the confessional by invoking “Father forgive our sins that we have forgotten.”

    • Justaskingseriously on

      Actually Catholic Christians publicly express their sinfulness at the start of every Mass: “I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault….”

      What is your idea of being a christian? What is your idea of being a catholic? If you can define what you mean by those words, then perhaps you can be clear about what you really want to say.

  3. Is the columnist Catholic Christian enough to know that he sounds like one of the Pharisees who brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to test Jesus how he would render judgement, hoping that either way Jesus would be in a bind.

    There many parallel to the point he is making about the SAF 44. Just like the woman, SAF 44 case is not really about them but how they could be used to convict PNoy in the court of public opinion.

    In the end the answer Jesus gave was ” he who has no sin cast the first stone”

  4. Amnata Pundit on

    Aren’t non-Christians children of God too? The real question should be, After 500 years of trying, has the Catholic Church succeeded in turning us into a God-fearing nation? The answer should be clear enough to intelligent Catholics. So the next question is, can these intelligent Catholics handle the truth?

    • Justaskingseriously on

      What truth? Get it out in the open. I am not intelligent enough to read your mind. There is a wide chasm that divides faith and politics: unity in faith does not mean unity in politics. If I read you correctly, that is what you are inferring from 500 years of trying? Growth in faith does not really reflect 500 years. The most we can count on is growth in one’s generation, simply because the process always starts all over again with the new generation. If you have noticed, the older generation always marvel at how “evil” the new generation is. Secular progress seems to be inversely proportional to faith progress: the more modern we become, the less faith we seem to have.

      That, to me, is the direct evidence yet, that God still works through “Christ’s body”, “the Church” (Ephesians 1:23). Left to ourselves, the Church would not have survived the very first generation of christians. Jesus is the “head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18).

      “Aren’t non-Christians children of God too?” If I read your mind correctly, the answer in your opinion is affirmative. I beg to differ. Why? The answer lies in the fact that there is only one Son of God. Jesus is the only Son of God. There cannot be other children of God. Not even christians are children of God.

      Ephesians 1:5 God “predestined us through Christ Jesus to be his adopted sons…” Key word: through Jesus we become adopted children. That is the rationale for our constant discipleship of Jesus through constant union with Him….

    • Amnata Pundit on

      I meant are they prepared to handle the truth about why the Church is a failure in her spiritual mission? She is of course an unparalleled success in acquiring wealth and power, but that was not Jesus’ intention, was it? I suggest you study the history of the Church in its entirety, not its prettified version only. Your admission that the Church is programmed to fail is found in your first paragraph, read what you wrote very carefully. If you do not believe that everybody is God’s children, I’m sorry but I cannot help you. “The difficulty in fighting evil lies in its ability to make itself look good.” Open your eyes and see who has managed to look good even after doing so much evil. When you have seen this truth, you have seen the devil. Good luck on your spiritual journey.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      Here is for more clarity: There are children who are real children and there are children who are adopted children. You agree? Scientifically speaking: adopted children carry no genes from their adoptive parents. Agree? Legally speaking: adopted children are entitled as much as real children. Agree? So if it offends you that none of us are real children of God, tough luck. When I quoted Ephesians 1:5, I was hoping you would notice the word “adopted”. It is not a matter of what I believe actually. You simply missed the crucial distinction.

      When you write about failure of the church in her spiritual mission, I cannot help but think that you are treading on spiritual grounds. Spiritual mission is just that. Spiritual. That would not be in the realm of measureables. Don’t you think? If you equate the visible wealth such as grand cathedrals and sprawling universities as signs of spiritual failures, just consider that King Philip II of Spain had much to do with donating his wealth for those measureables to enrich the islands that bear his name: Filipinas. And foreign missionaries who not only dedicated their whole lives for our youth but procured foreign donations for the measureables as a continuing endeavor, you might want to stop and think that there must have been a real need for these measureables for the sake of our people.

      How did you study church history? The first book on church history is found in the bible. It is the Acts of the Apostles. Read it in its entirety and you will not fail to see the hand of God at work. The letters of St. Paul follow the Acts of the Apostles. The same Saul who tried to wipe out the early Church is the same St. Paul who now tells us about his insights into the reality of God’s plan for our salvation. Subsequent books on church history? The internet would be a source for more info. It is within your reach.

      When you look up “pundit” you will notice that it is used in connection with politics. Pundits comment on political matters, and everybody listens. “Amnata pundit” is a litotes or a figure of speech which is an understatement. If you are a pundit in political matters, you just might not be a pundit in spiritual things. But just the same, have a pleasant spiritual journey in your punditry.

  5. It is true that Aquino does believes he should lie to get his way or to discredit his enemies. I do not know what religion he believes in or if he believes in any religion. .

  6. being less Catholic is not a weakness nor being a Muslim is a strength! in fact we rely too much on God, Sa Diyos ang awa at nasa Tao ang gawa, we are probably THE MOST LIED TO PEOPLE ON EARTH by their own government(or syndicate?)
    The German pilot who killed all his passenger have ‘mental issues’ and everyone swears he is normal. I SEE A PARALLEL in our case, many lives has lost and now he is determined to dismember the Republic, the yellow army swears too that their leader is ‘normal’ with his ‘bodybags’ threats, read between the lines people! do you still want their ‘normal leader’ to continue?

  7. Venerando Desales on

    I recall about the biblical Israel who was chosen by God to be His own people. Yet the Israelites prostituted themselves by embracing the Babylonian religion of practising human sacrifice, sex orgies, gluttony, brutalities, and all abominations conceivable. So, God dispersed and exiled them! Pnoy is a Catholic, yet, he allowed himself to be prayed over by other non Catholic faiths. What a bad example of a leader, flirting. God is a jealous God, that is why number one of His commandment is you should have no other gods beside me. Solomon exactly fell on this folly, so he was punished then his kingdom fell apart. Tsk, tsk, Pnoy has sealed his fate. This is what happens to one who doesn’t have humility: mistakes upon mistakes, troubles upon troubles, sins upon sins, and finally becoming the subject of the devil, then eternal damnation. What a legacy!

  8. Filipino are only catholic during sunday when they go to church but once they go out they do their usual ways like gossip, throwing of rubbish anywhere, corruption ,no integrity and many more bad things we do.
    Look at the late Lee Kuan Yu of singapore he is not christian but the way he govern his government is very christian.

    • I beg to disagree . Sweeping statement about Catholics. Hindi lahat. Other sects do the same, but not all though. LKY stated that he neither confirmed nor admitted that GOD existed. He believed his own talent. Saan galing yong utak nya? Kinuha tuloy sya. Maraming taong more than 100 years old. Singapore is a miniscule country compared to the Philippines. His governance is really unprecedented beyond comparison and the Singaporeans are disciplined, Filipinos are not(majority if not 80-90 percent of us)

  9. Phylliss Quinn on

    Very true and dismaying comments about a very very high prelate in the Philippines, who should be at the forefront of the drive to (1) re-establish morality in Philippine politics and (2) help preserve Philippine electoral democracy by hearing the correctt position of the Catholic bishops who have signed the Lipa Assembly declarations.

  10. Saan ba nagkamali ang Catholicong pari,bakit ang mga alagad nila katulad ni Aquino ay ayaw sumunod sa kanila ganoong sila daw ay totoong katoliko!
    Sinasabi na 90% ay katoliko pero halos 90% din ang lumalaban sa mga aral nila!
    Kung ipinagkakatiwala nila ang sarili nila kaluluwa sa mga utos ng pari bakit sa makalupang bagay ay ayaw nilang sumunod!
    Masamain man ng iba,ang totoo wala ang dios sa mga pari!
    Dahil makikita mo na nagsasariling pananampalataya ang mga katoliko at sarili nilang desisyon ang kanilang sinusunod!
    Kaya ang kasamaan ay laganap dahil sa hindi nila pagsunod sa mga pari,dahil mismo ang mga pari ay nag-aaway at nag-sasalungatan kapag politika at pakinabang na ang pag-uusapan!
    Mga kawawang mga kaluluwa sumusunod sa Aral ng mga pari na sila mismo ay hindi nagkakasundo!
    Iwan bakit marami pa rin nananatili sa ganitong kalagayan!

    • Bakit kailangan sumunod sa mga pari ang presidente ng bayan ? Tuta ba ang lahat ng Christiano na walang mga kukote ? Filipinos are too emotional and this trait are what is being abused.

      We don’t need a PHD or college degree to know what has happened with the Elite 44 who died.. They died in service to their country, no matter who gave that stupid order, …. So don’t dwell on their deaths, or make a political mockery of it. Shut up and dwell on the student activists, the journalists and the poor farmers who were slaughtered, salvaged and mass murdered in the pasts !!!! Facts are facts and not hearsay! Is this Christian enough ?

  11. Oh, wow!! Talaga ba na there really folks who think that a provincial governor or congressman (much less a senator or bise-presidente or presidente) will “…. call for the criminalization of virginity, chastity and natural (heterosexual) marriage.”

    • Tatad is indeed tadtad. He is twisting the point to score. Down with TATAD. Natarantado na yata.

  12. On Mr. Tatad’s question: Is our Christian Catholic nation Catholic enough?”. My answer is – IT DEFINITELY IS. But probably, the more relevant question is “Is our Catholic Christian nation CHRISTIAN enough?”. My answer is a BIG NO.

    Our politicians are mostly Catholics; even Janet Napoles is a ‘serrado Catolico’, a devout Catholic who brags about the rosary given to her by a pope. Janet Napoles claims she prays the rosary many times daily. She even let a bishop, her personal spiritual adviser, to live in one of her Forbes Park mansions. Yet for all her Catholic devoutness, she engineered the shocking P10 billion pork barrel scam together with mostly Catholic 20 senatongs and 100 representa-thieves, as per the list she compiled.

    If our country’s leaders – mostly graduates of Catholic schools in the Philippines, had learned the tenets of Christianity, then they will not behave like ravenous wolves preying on us Filipinos.

  13. Si Cardinal Tagle po ang dapat sumagot nyan. Pero kaalyado siya ni AbNoy. Isali na rin si Soc Villegas na isa sa mga iba niya pang kaalyado. Parang wala ring patutunguhan kasi nga mga protectors nya.

    • Yes our country is catholic enough and very much catholic. But, are you a practicing catholic? If you misinformed your neighbor, if you misinformed your neighbors for the downfall of others, if you misinformed your neighbors in an assumption that the good intention of others will be interpreted a evil and lastly if you misinformed your neighbors on acts of others base of hate. Then you are not and even not a practicing catholic.

  14. Of course, I have always believed that our country is not Catholic enough. With the likes of Cardinal Tagle and Archbp. Socrates Villegas, whose stand against ELECTION CHEATERS and LIARS has always been ambivalent, I no longer wonder why we are losing a great number of Catholics. With those 2 bishops around, we don’t need Satan to do his work.

    His Holiness, Pope Francis was more emphatically univocal. In the Vatican, he told a group of nuns (one of our local nuns was one of those in the group), “stop being old maids by just staying inside your convents, go out and get involved!” Pope Francis also took issue with his curia who were making money for themselves and started replacing them. He also had those Vatican officials dealing with the banks and pilfering some funds for themselves investigated.

    But here in our country this Cardinal Tagle and Archbp. Villegas want to charm their way around. The truth is, we don’t need their pretended charm. We want them to make a stand. Are they for or against Christ? Christ no doubt will always be for the people of this country who are always the sad victims of the GRAND LIES , DECEPTION, HUBRIS and CRIMINAL UNCONCERN OF EL LADRON LOCO of Malacanang. Christ will be for peace in Mindanao but not at the expense of an unconstitutionally infirmed BBL which threatens to dismember our republic and steal our money and natural resources in that part of our world.

    For added info pls go to the National Transformation Council FB page and look for the article of Bobit Avila.