• A stepped-up war on the Church?

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    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    THE wars of religion, which engulfed Europe in the 17th century, ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. But more problems followed. In the 19th century, Otto von Bismarck tried to drive the Catholic Church out of existence with his kulturkampf. In 1871, the German chancellor, a devoted Protestant, abolished the Roman Catholic bureau in the Prussian ministry of culture; forbade Catholic priests from expressing political opinion from the pulpit; subjected all religious schools to state inspection and excluded religious teachers from state schools; dissolved the Jesuit order in Germany; then severed diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

    In 1873, he placed religious training and even ecclesiastical appointments within the Church under strict state control. By 1875, he made civil marriage compulsory throughout Germany, cutting off state aid from non-compliant dioceses and sending defiant clergy into exile. The Catholic population responded by packing parliament with their allies, forcing Bismarck to ultimately reconsider his position. The arrival of Pope Leo XIII at the Vatican finally turned the tide against the Iron Chancellor.

    But in the 20th century, nazism and communism became the principal scourges of mankind. Both ideologies finally collapsed, but with political liberalism came also what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called the dictatorship of moral relativism. This has since become the plague of our civilization. Some people, having apparently learned nothing from history, seem determined to convince President Rodrigo Duterte to embark upon something grotesquely similar to Bismarck’s kulturkampf. The apparent objective is to punish the Catholic Church for speaking out against the drug killings, which has become the defining program of the DU30 government.

    The latest windmill
    I cannot see this going anywhere. But some people seem determined to exploit DU30’s volatile nature and turn the Catholic Church into his latest windmill. To strike a contrast between the most numerous Church and other denominations, a group of non-Catholic “bishops” was recently reported to have declared “full and solid support for DU30 despite the hyped propaganda against him by detractors.” At the same time, the apparently hyper-active Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), which I reported earlier to be preparing to impeach the Ombudsman as a favor to Malacañang, is now said to be poised to ask a Regional Trial Court to enjoin the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) from making any statement on the drug killings. To this group, the CBCP statements constitute undue interference in State affairs.

    These developments show to what extent insanity and ignorance have sunk under the present administration. To suggest that opposition to the drug killings is merely coming from DU30’s “detractors” is to distort reality through incompetent English usage. Over 8,000 drug suspects are reported to have been killed; and the condemnation is coming from independent critics, concerned citizens, moral leaders, and international human rights workers. These are not mere “detractors.” Detraction is the act of revealing a person’s hidden fault without any just public motive: a “detractor” is someone who discloses somebody else’s private faults without any public good to be derived from such disclosure. DU30’s non-Catholic supporters would like to make it appear that the killings are private matters which the government has every right to keep hidden.

    What is the bishops’ crime?
    Now, why should the CBCP be held answerable for denouncing the killings when the assailants themselves are not being held accountable for their crimes? What crime did the CBCP commit in issuing a pastoral letter condemning the killings? Slander? Libel? Undue interference in State affairs? This appears to be the drift of the VACC’s reported thinking. The group seems to believe that the constitutional separation of Church and State, which the Church respects, prohibits the Church and church leaders from judging the morality or immorality of government actions. They call it undue interference or meddling. But this statement has no moral or legal basis at all.

    No wilder nor more ignorant statement could come from any source. Every act of the State must have a sound moral basis, and it is the right and duty of the Church, on behalf of the faithful, to pass moral judgment on it. The exercise of that right and that duty is a function of the constitutional separation of Church and State, rather than a deviation from it, as alleged. On everything that concerns the rights and dignity of the human person, the Church has a right and duty to speak. The Church ceases to be a Church if it doesn’t speak.

    When the Constitution says “the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights,” or that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws,” it does not create a state obligation or an individual right ex nihilo, but merely reaffirms what already exists in the moral order. Thus, when bishops and priests call attention to the ongoing violations of human rights, they do so in a double capacity—as moral authorities exercising a moral mandate and as concerned citizens discharging their wounded consciences.

    The dangers of a backlash
    The human person is “the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions,” as the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, and there can be no legitimate political order which does not recognize this. Nor can such an order fail to promote the natural cooperation between Church and State on the basis of the fundamental rights of man and the human community, and the rule of law. Indeed, there cannot be a political order outside the natural moral law. But this is precisely where DU30 could be heading if he allows himself to be drawn into this move allegedly being packaged by the VACC.

    The court complaint could harass the bishops and the clergy and provoke jeers from the secular media, but I cannot see it succeeding anywhere. To the contrary, a backlash could ensue. Although there are more nominal and folk Catholics than well-instructed ones, most, if not all, of them are likely to fall behind their bishops and priests if and when the Church comes under prosecution from DU30. I would urge DU30 then to distance himself from this reported anti-Church initiative, and try to mend fences with the Church hierarchy before it is too late.

    With the international human rights forces building up, including Vice President Leni Robredo throwing in her own videos, DU30 will need all the allies he can get at home. He cannot allow himself to be hooted out of the stage for listening to a power-driven group which would like to engage the Church in a major confrontation for its own motives, without having received the thinnest daubing of philosophy, theology, anthropology, sociology, logic or Catechism to augment its skimpy knowledge of Church-State relations, based on the short exchange between two priest-delegates during the deliberations of the1986 constitutional commission.

    One does not have to be a clairvoyant to predict what will happen if a case were filed against the CBCP before an impartial judge. The New Testament provides a playbook for it. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and the apostles are jailed by the authorities for preaching the words of Christ after his crucifixion. An angel frees them from prison, and returns them to the Temple to continue their preaching. The high priest confronts them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in his name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

    Obey God, not men
    Peter and the apostles then say, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

    The members of the council are enraged and want to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stands up and gives orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he says to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about 400, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished and all who followed him were scattered. So, in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (cf Acts 5: 27-39).

    DU30 needs to listen to his own Gamaliel now, rather than to those who merely want to see him explode in a paroxym of rage and declare for their own ends a war he does not need and which not even the devil has won.

    fstatad@gmail.com

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    30 Comments

    1. Catholics colonized countries are mostly poor still. Because they taught filipinos to think small. Look at Singapore, Hong Kong , Malaysia .Etc.. Catholic traditions and rituals is counterproductive. Secondly abt Gamaliel you’re referring to belongs to Pharisees which Jesus Christ says are Hypocrites. The traditional rituals of the Old Testament the tabernacles the tent the rituals has been replaced by Jesus Christ therefore abolishing these obnoxious rituals.

      • Your comment about catholic countries remaining poor is quite relevant.

        An entire counter-article can be made answering this write-up. But let me settle for rebutting certain points.

        1. If Bismarck’s kulturkampf was such a failure, one has to wonder how devotedly catholic Germany is today.

        2. The packing-allies narrative only proves the rcc is a political machine rather than a society for spirituality and morality.

        3. Why so smug that the church prevailed sometimes? They did the same thing to two Philippine presidents, and now they still have to struggle.

        They could only topple individual figures, but are powerless to stop such trends as contraception, divorce, homosexuality, broken families… The list goes on.

        Tokugawa Japan eliminated catholicism. Tudor England repelled the Armada and rejected James I. Even in politics, catholic success is a mixed bag. They cannot claim omnipotence.

        4. “The Church ceases to be a Church if it doesn’t speak.”

        Speaking does not happen to be the only function of a true spiritual and moral movement. Fix the “nominal and folk Catholics” who are “more” than the “well-instructed” members, before they could presume to speak for the whole. They can start by trying to recruit priests… if they can.

        5. According to the article, it is detraction if there is no public good to be derived. As if destabilization is a public good. Oh well, “destabilization” might be faulted by the grammar police, but with the tone of the article, it may not be liable for incompetent English, but what about unbalanced journalism?

        6. “…most, if not all, of them are likely to fall behind their bishops and priests if and when the Church comes under prosecution from DU30.”

        *Points to Luneta crowd as well as Edsa crowd last February*

        There is a certain underestimation of the support PRRD has.

        7. It is strange that the Bible was cited in defense of catholicism. Didn’t the church forbid the reading of the Bible once? The Good Book is now quoted in favor of catholic priests whilst “non-Catholics” are criticised for supporting PRRD, the same right the church claims it is merely exercising.

        8. With a church instrumental in the deposal of two presidents, in the murder of a governor-general, in the execution of a national hero (and the subsequent push against including his works in the curriculum), and in the perpetuation of an entire colonial/neocolonial state of affairs down to this day, one wonders if it simply speaks without interfering.

        Have I written an article already? I at least hope it still has a smaller word count.

      • This is so right on. FILIPINOS are made to think within the BOUNDARIES of what the church teaches. NO BRAINS to think without needing to quote the Bible.

        Instead of coming up with solutions some FILIPINOS are self reliant on the church as the source of HAPPINESS, HOPE & WILL

    2. RELIGION was CREATED at a TIME of WAR.

      It was essential to stop nations from declaring war against each other. A new world order was established ensuring countries from which religion originated authority over those it indoctrinated in their beliefs.

      These countries were kept poor, overpopulated and ignorant. PHILIPPINES INCLUDED.

    3. MARIANO PATALINJUG on

      Yonkers, New York
      17 March 2017

      It is a clear evidence of Duterte’s stupidity or incorrigible and overweening pride that he is now taking on the Roman Catholic Church as an adversary if not his “enemy.”

      From where I sit, it is meet and proper that the Church should denounce Duterte’s highly immoral, psychotic and barbaric warrantless genocidal extrajudicial mass-slaughter of those engaged in his speciously justified Drug War, a blood-thirsty drive which has dispatched prematurely to heaven or hell some 8,000 hapless victims so far, his macabre goal being 3 MILLION!

      At the murderous rate Duterte is going, he may not last the six years of his constitutional tenure. Something is bound “to give!” He could it not should be deposed one way or the other: via IMPEACHMENT, via PEOPLE POWER, or a PUTSCH. ASSASSINATION should not be ruled out complteely to excise this lethal CANCER!

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

      • Luzon, Philippines

        Sir, you spout quite a mouthful of purple prose.

        Ad hominem hysterics like these do not advance any meaningful point in your argument, it only adds noise.

        Sir, you and the author of the article should realize that catholicism was far more murderous in promoting from the start an exploitative colonial structure that left a legacy of corruption in our politics. If there is an institution that has a genuine say in judging PRRD’s campaign, it is certainly NOT the church.

        Why do you pride yourself on the rc church outlasting others as an outward organization? It is already destroyed in its essence, as a society that should have promoted morals and brotherhood.

        If the church still exists today, it is only as a hobbling zombie. Not something to be proud of.

      • If that’s what you wish for, being against PRRD’s mandate, then let us all wait if your wish will come through.You seem so MORALIST, Sir.

    4. It is the religious priests who killed Jesus, crowned Him with thorns and mocked Him ‘King of the Jews’. It is an irony to the truth because Jesus is indeed King – eternal, forever! The learned Saul was a Pharisee himself so zealous for his religion that he killed many new testament believers not until he saw the light in a Damascus road did he became an Apostle to both Jews and gentiles and even died advancing the cause of Jesus Christ. God abhorred the external application of religion as nothing but inwardly rotten white tombs. Rather that one’s religion (or lack of it) is internal good welling out from the inside to the tangible. Gamaliel was correct during his time. Either or both the religious and Duterte in our time should not find themselves opposing God.

    5. “These developments show to what extent insanity and ignorance have sunk under the present administration…” What? O common Kit, when Spain colonized our country, that was the time lies, corruption and killings started…by the priests….who exposed the Katipunan?? you know the answer….even now they’re still the destabilizers of this country of which you are their spokesperson!

    6. Let us get back to basics” will we follow Duterte or the Catholoc Church ? Both have their own faults so let us not follow the 2 of them. Let us follow God word. Sanctity of Life is the answer and the rest will follow.

      • We voted for our president, we didn’t vote for these priests.

        How can they say they have respect for the law when they mix their scriptures with current events, even quoting the bible??

        Philippines is not a 100% catholic nation, give some respect to Filipinos who dont even see YOU as a priest, clergy or pope.

    7. Were the Catholic Church absent or simply taciturn (for safety’s sake, as other ‘churches’ and religions, plus cults) turn into, would Du30 find himself taking precautions before going into a killing rampage or not. Without anything to contradict a movement, this tends to push indefinitely till it consumes itself. By then, good bye poor Filipinos!

      • Philippine dont need soothsayers, leave our Preseident that we elected alone.

        CBCP is failing Philippines on all grounds of morality since this MONEY MAKING INSTITUTION first invaded PHILIPPINE SOIL IN THE 1500s.

      • The catholic cult could not even speak up at the nazareno event. Is it because they were speaking live in front of an actual crowd?

        The church was indeed bold enough to speak through the press, but they could not stop the purge of LP stalwarts, and they could not influence PRRD to take “precautions” (because why are they still whining if he did); indeed they could not even keep the RH Law from being signed, and that by then-president Aquino.

        Other religious groups can support who they choose to, it’s not being taciturn, it is a right.

    8. pablo sanchez on

      1. a group of non-Catholic “bishops” was recently reported to have declared “full and solid support for DU30 despite the hyped propaganda against him by detractors. – because most of the catholic bishop are now meddling with the government policies and in exchange for monetary support from the detractors. also, it is only HYPE PROPAGANDA that is being portraited by the media including you against the president.

      2. the apparently hyper-active Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), which I reported earlier to be preparing to impeach the Ombudsman as a favor to Malacañang – Mr. Tatad, it is because the ombudsman is sitting on the cases of former president PNoy. how come did only ABAD is facing charges for DAP?

      3. 8,000 drug suspects are reported to have been killed – how much percentage is that comparing to tens of thousand operations and millions of surrenderees and those apprehended in illegal drugs? are you only keeping the bloated number of people died with others not related in drugs? how about the 10,000 plus victims of EJK during aquino’s term? do you include that in your column?

      4. With the international human rights forces building up, including Vice President Leni Robredo throwing in her own videos, DU30 will need all the allies he can get at home. – that video only shows the greed of the fake vice president who won the via PCOS hocus. DU30 already have his 16million supporters behind his back. if your destabilization will succeed do you think the people including anti-marcos will just accept LENI to replace the working president? you are not looking for the bigger picture.

      5. We must obey God rather than men – BULLSHIT! Duterte won because of the voters believe in change for the better leader. those catholic leaders are not GODS so dont ever compare them nor use the name of God in vain.

      you do not understand the sentiment of the people because you are not from the street. you have no first hand experience living in an are with drug addicts and pusher. dont make us fool

    9. dami mong mga references, pero sa “over 8000 drug suspects reported” are hearsay lang. mga 2500 ang nasa PNP record for drug suspects during police investigations, and another newspaper’s kill list is about 2200… the rest are just hearsay. palang grace poe lang ang peg, daanin sa hearsay and statistical probability na “baka” pulis ang pumatay, at “baka” drug suspects ang napatay…

    10. The Church knows it is becoming irrelevant, hence the meddling and influencing on the pulpit.

    11. Amnata Pundit on

      The Church is merely reaping the backlash from its meddling. Im sure you know but refuse to admit that the Philippine revolution was the result of 400 years of abuses by the friars, so please, meddle some more, pleez…

      • The church has made Filipinos into a Religious Indoctrinated Lot and even then is still riddled by MORAL DECLINE.

    12. And Digong must join your Opus Dei and forbiden to practice Onanism,amen.Otto von Bismark united Germany into one country and made it rich and powerful . Name one country in the world dominated by the catholics that can surpass Germany. The catholic church morality teachings thrive on making their flocks poor like countries in South America. The protestant pilgrims of the New World made the United States and their religious freedom do not invoke interference of the affairs of the state.Our country could have been better off if protestant England colonized us because of trade than Catholic Spain who conquered us in the name of God and their King. The success of our nation depends on men resolved to unify us in diversity not in moral standard of one religion.

      • Roland name one protestant country in EU now, that believes in God. FYI southwestern Germany was occupied by the Catholics and they were the one who almost built what is now Germany. Did you also know that the Benedictine Monks single handedly built the sewerages in Germany that it is still being used today, not bad for Catholics. Since the Catholics were being persecuted by the Protestant in Germany and Ireland they went to the Americas and contributed to making what is now Pennsylvania, Illinois,Ohio, Michigan, NJ, NY, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and of course Texas. The Mexicans did not let the Protestant go in to what is now Texas, but let the German Catholics come in and stay there.
        Now if you also put the Midwest which was a colony of France; was called Louisiana, and the western part (west coast) was part of Mexico both Catholic territory, then you can conclude that the Catholic built what is now America.
        With regards with us being colonized by the British, which they did for a time, 2 years to be exact. They occupied only Manila, and did not go further than that, why you might say, because they butchered us indios and we saw that Spain has more heart than the Protestant British.
        So your beef with the Catholic is what?

      • The protestants of the New World rebelled against England and, helped by France, fought for independence. They certainly were very much involved in their government. Did they give up their slaves peacefully? Civil War had to be waged for Lincoln to emancipate the slaves.

        You need to be reminded that the wealthy U.S.A. colonized the Philippines since 1898 when Spain had to cede the Islas Filipinas to the U.S.A. What did President William McKinley say when asked what he would do to the Philippines? “We will Christianize them,” he answered. Every Filipino old timer harks back to the “peace time” before WWII when there must have been progress in those days. We can only imagine how life was before WWII. But judging from the reaction of President Manuel L. Quezon who said, “I would rather have the Philippines ruled like Hell by Filipinos than ruled like Heaven by the Americans,” he must have tasted the rampant racism in the U.S.A.

        If Hell is what you got, it is because that is what you really want. Blame no one. Blame not any Church. Welcome rather Filipino citizens who happen to be speaking out not to forget spiritual values to get out of Hell. Perhaps economic blessings will eventually provide air conditioning for Hell.

      • Soon, organizations such as Volunteers Again the Catholic Church (VACC) and Iglesia ni Duterte sa Ikasasawi ng Oposiyon at Tulak-droga (IDIOT) would sprout across the nations. These could be the only hope of the Filipinos. Care to lead them?

      • For the first time in hundreds of years, the country is waking up to the dubious sincerity of the church people. Here’s to staying awake from now on.

      • Indeed, countries colonized by Spain do tend to be underdeveloped today. A Filipino student learns about clerical and landlord privilege stretching back into colonial times. As for the claims of Benedictine sewages and such, even if it were all historically factual, the damage colonial religion has done far outweighs any supposed contributions, and multiethnic America does not need a particular denomination to be built.

        It was the most catholic Spanish empire that introduced slavery to the New World.

        Name one catholic country that deals with its own people as the Lord wants. Practice proves belief.

    13. all efforts should be made to vanish the catholic church; and not because of their opposition to the drug war. they are the main reason for the huge inequality in the country, for the poverty. they deceive, they coerce. they can only remain needed when there are many poor people. this is why they are against contraceptives, despite the huge negative effects to the poor. they are the shabu of the poor people for thousands of years. they are difficult, perhaps even impossible, to eradicate; just like shabu. nevertheless, we should try.

    14. With GOD’s mercy on the victims (extrajudicial killings or injustices made by Duterte’s allies) of Duterte and his allies most especially Alvares, Evasco, Aguirre and other “kunsintidors”, the downfall of Duterte is almost near. Duterte will not last 2 years. Watch “Madam Secretary” and you will notice the similarity of Datu Andrada and Duterte. It is true that Duterte already sold some portions of the Philippines to China in exchange of billions of dollars and a refuge camp in China for the Duterte family in case Duterte is kicked out of Malacanang. Let us all pray to save the Philippines from this linatic president. We also thank God that Binay lost the Presidential election (otherwise Binay will own one half of the Philippines). Remember, prayer will move mountains and God will listen to us.

      • daydreaming is a free commodity forever and ever…so keep on daydreaming and hope you will not awake to see what you seek…

      • keep telling yourself those stories and listening to your idols c/o pinoy, recto et al, and dont forget to top up your favorite drugs lest the hallucinations cease. Then again, if you can afford drugs potent enough to make you believe BS like that in steady supply, you might be close to being found by Tokhang after all.