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Jul 03

A new state religion? Catholic and Pidalistic

I’m surprised at the carping that’s taking place in the wake of Manny Pacquiao’s victory, from people complaining about the prices of tickets (almost USD$1,000 for a ringside seat, to tickets having apparently been given away to fill up the Araneta Colliseum), to watching that old Marcos relict Ronnie Nathanielsz asking aloud on ANC this morning why Pacquiao didn’t seem all that eager to really finish off his opponent, to the extent that the promoter was ticked off. The comments I’ve been hearing are along the lines of what Iloilo City Boy has to say (amusing thing pointed to by that blog: Manila Vanilla’s entry on how not to run major sporting events).

An intriguing article is in The Daily Tribune, which features extensive quotes from the normally spectacularly silent Cardinal-Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Rosales. A news item overseas features what may be an emerging bandwagon among Catholic prelates to back impeachment. Columnist Jojo Robles comes up with the perfect administration party preemptive, calibrated response:

The problem with Yñiguez and other politically active Catholic clergymen is, as another recent editorial in this newspaper inferred, they never hesitate to use whatever influence they have over their flock to push their own private political agenda. “The headlines [after Yñiguez’ filing], after all, did not read “Private citizen files 3rd complaint.” They correctly said “Bishop files 3rd complaint,” that editorial said.

No matter how it is viewed, Benedict’s encyclical seems pretty straightforward and unequivocal, immune to jesuitic second-guessing. The rest is only convenient doctrinal rationalizing by the clerics—or a disingenuous attempt to obfuscate and ignore a legitimate reminder from no less than the Pope to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

Do you know what Robles means? He denies an essential dictum of Catholic dogma: the magisterium. And all this “rendering unto Caesar” claptrap only serves to incense the Neros and Caligulas of the present (to borrow the apt phrase coined by Claro M. Recto) and ignores what Christians kept willing to do under a long line of Caesars: suffer martyrdom by flouting the law.

Robles also echoes one of the most disturbing theories cooked up by the administration: that in its dirty sense, politics only applies to dissent; and that anything proposed and pushed by the administration can never, ever, be deemed politics in that sense.

A view echoed by Atty. Rita Jimeno who raises the specter of fat, ignorant friars in a country practically depopulated of them. Moral of the tale? Intervention of the Catholic clergy in political affairs, according to the present dispensation, is wrong when the clergy is critical of the administration. If, however, the clergy serve the purposes of the administration, Catholic meddling is to be welcomed and encouraged. In a newsgroup, one member reminded the other readers that when the Catholic bishops seemed inclined to let the President be, signs began to sprout throughout the metropolis: “Avoid trouble! Obey the bishops!”.

It’s true the Catholic episcopacy has had many tussles with presidents and politicians, as these articles in The Philippines Free Press blog remind us: pre-war, there was the question of religious instruction in the public schools during class time; after the war, there was the debate on the Rizal law. What people forget (read the articles to double-check this point, if you wish) is that a principal objection in those days was the large, even dominant, presence of foreign bishops in the Philippines. That is no longer the case. What’s interesting is that even in the 1930s, when the generation that lived through the twilight of the Spanish era were still alive, what was not questioned was the right of the clergy to comment: what was deemed wrong was lobbying, in effect, purely to promote Catholic interests (therefore: devoting normal class hours to catechism was wrong, from the perspective of the separation of Church and State; as were Catholic objections to Rizal’s heretical ideas being taught to the public; inviting the Papal Nuncio to witness the repeal of the Death Penalty was a violation, but that was one committed by the Speaker and magnified by the President).

A perfectly admirable TV show gets suspended by people who might die if they ever opened a copy of National Geographic Magazine.

Mark Jimenez keeps showing the money. Dick Gordon elected to global Red Cross body.

The Manila Daily Bulletin editorial recalls the anniversary of the founding of La Liga Filipina. Here is the Constitution of La Liga; and something the influential Benedict Anderson’s written.

An absolutely engrossing review of new biographies of Benjamin Disraeli (via New Economist).

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Church and Calabasa.

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ on the roadblocks to impeachment (anyone notice he’s getting really sarcastic these days? I love it!).

Efren Danao and Ducky Paredes both have something to say on automated elections, past and present efforts included.

The woes of Comelec Commissioner Rex Borra continues to be grist for the mill. The Inquirer editorial says the Ombudsman’s cooked up novel legal theories: basically saying high-level officials are beyond scrutiny. Fel Maragay has faith in the system. One thing’s clear, as someone told me yesterday: no one expected the Ombudsman to wriggle out of such a tight spot the way she did.

The blogosphere: here’s a story. I was talking to a farmer yesterday, someone involved in Agrarian Reform beneficiaries’ issues, and this was just one of the stories I heard.
Recently, a detachment of soldiers went through a community, as part of the general zona ad hamletting efforts of the AFP. The soldiers were hungry. They ordered the farmer to slaughter his one and only pig. The farmer refused -the pig was going to be earmarked to pay the tuition fees of his children. The soldiers manhandled the farmer and one of his sons, forcing them to dig their own graves.

The farmer and his son weren’t killed -but thoroughly frightened into slaughtering their pig. The NPA would never do that to a farmer and his family. Not that I endorse what Achieving Happiness desires.

Speaking of “rebels”, Peryodistang Pinay gives the background on her published interview with a rebel leader. But an altogether different kind: the ones who want statehood! A rebel against sanity (then again, The Idiot Board says Superman is an icon of imperialism).

Istambay sa Mindanao has a detailed entry on corruption among local government units in Mindanao.

Uniffors points to a snippet from the Garcillano recordings that may explain why Rex Borra’s bearing the brunt of the Ombudsman’s attentions. An OFW Living in Hong Kong, and The Bystander, as well as Stepping on Poop weigh in on the issue (but Mickety, what did you expect from the President, who appointed the Ombudsman?).

Even in other republics, as this Slate article shows, the question of Church and State is increasingly of political importance.

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21 comments

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  1. Phil Cruz

    Manolo,
    That story about soldiers ordering a farmer and his family to dig their own graves for refusing to slaughter their pig really got my goat! It is these atrocities which drive people up the hills.

    The soldiers were hungry? So they ask for the farmer’s pig intended to pay for a child’s tuition fee? Such inhumanity!

    In the first place, why did the soldiers run out of food provisions? What happened to the P1,000,000 budget for the all-out-war against the rebels? Down the Pidal drain?

  2. Jeg

    Did you mean ‘that old Marcos derelict‘? 😀

    I didnt bother to see the Pacquiao-Larios fight. I guess I had Pacquiao overload. His mug is everywhere. Went out with the kids instead.

  3. micketymoc

    Manolo, opposition to the unconstitutional ouster of the President is not the same as all-out support of the Midget-in-Chief. Just in case you needed clarification.

  4. x

    Manolo, your links are not working properly. you might want to double check that they’re pointing to the right websites. other than that, i love your work!

  5. hvrds

    Anyone who thinks the Roman Catholic Church will back away from supporting one of their own in evengelizing the necessity of morally upright state institutions (most especially the Office of the Presidency) had better get their heads examined.

    Even in jefferson’s U.S.A. when the House of representatives passed a law criminalizing assisting illegal immigrants, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the United States came out formally as an institution and bluntly told the government of the United States that they would inform the clergy and the faithful to break what they considered to be an immoral law if passed. The Catholic Church directly lobbied in Congress and funded, led and supported massive rallies against the bill.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/weekinreview/19swarns.html?ex=1152072000&en=ddb5688f9a7cf89f&ei=5070
    Bishop Urges U.S. House to Reject Budget Deal
    In another example a bishop intervenes in budget deliberations to lobby for his poor constituencies as president of the Bishop’s conference group in the U.S.

    He is using an institutional office of the Church to lobby in a purely political process.

    What if the head of the Bishops’ conference does that here. JDV would holler separation of church and state. Are the politico’s nuts?

    WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 30, 2006 (Zenit.org ).- A recent budget reconciliation bill fails to “meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us,” says the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

    In a letter last week to the U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane spelled out some concerns over the legislative.

    The bishop said his greatest concerns included: increased Medicaid cost-sharing burdens; cuts to child-support enforcement; and changes in temporary-aid programs for needy families which, he says, underfund work programs and child care.

    “We recognize that the bill also includes positive elements, such as additional funding for victims of Hurricane Katrina and a program to promote marriage and healthy families,” Bishop Skylstad asked the congressmen in his letter.

    “We are also grateful that cuts to the Food Stamps program were dropped from the package,” he said. “However, we believe that, overall, the impact of this bill will be to fail to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us.

    “Therefore, we urge you to reject the conference agreement and work for policies that put poor children and families first.”
    ZE06013010

  6. Jon Mariano

    Garci tapes just won’t go away…

  7. anna de brux

    Mlq3,

    Re: ” Fel Maragay has faith in the system. ”

    Maragay might have faith in the system but not many have faith in what he says. He might as well stop preaching coz nobody’s listening – certainly not from my corner here.

    I’ll take this corner, kick the ball, pass it on to a striker and GOOOOOOAL – so, Maragay no more!

  8. manuelbuencamino

    The only objection I have against this battle royale against Gloria and the CBCP is that it will take the focus away from the impeachment. I think we should focus on the impeach,emt starting next week. We will lose for sure but at least let’s make sure those charges are fully presented in Congress and the votes recorded so they become part of the congressional record forever,

  9. mlq3

    x, thank you. i think i’ve fixed them. this is the second or third time this has happened to me, my apologies.

  10. mlq3

    mickety, excellent reminder.

  11. Schumey

    More fronts to fight is going to weaken the pretender’s position. She has to face more enemies now. The fragmented opposition has managed to divide the adminstration’s focus. While divided as they are, the opposition’s pockets of resistance are concentrated. No wonder the adminstration in the last few days have no official or contradicting positions on different issues facing them. Everybody seems to have their own explanation on issues confronting the administration. One would wonder if there is anyone at the helm. Signs of cracks on walls, maybe in the days to come, we will see how GMA’s walls would start to crumble.

  12. juan makabayan

    Schumey, GMA is cracking up, she’s gone mad, telling the Pope about pesky Bishops, waving that encyclical like she can fool everyone, including the Pope. I wonder how its gonna be when she really crumbles. Will she go peacefully or go all out biting every critic in sight? Is exile an option? Her attack dogs, now barking at the Bishops, are rabid. How do we deal with them?

  13. anna de brux

    MLQ3,

    Your article in your column Long View in PDI “Church and Calabasha” is simply hilarious!

    Couldn’t stop laughing… Readers should try reading it alound coz it’s more hysterically funny!

    Oh, and I love this line of yours: ““But Ma’am in Barangay Bansot none of my poor constituents ever call themselves that. It’s an insult to them.””

    Hahahahah!

    http://opinion.inq7.net/inquireropinion/columns/view_article.php?article_id=7810

  14. anna de brux

    Would make a good link to http://www.gloriabansot.blogspot.com

  15. baycas

    all the while the country is trying very hard to dance the chacha, lolas from Kalayaan, Laguna had instead danced the lukayo. it’s sad the mtrcb wasn’t happy when it was shown on tv.

    we had one voice here, though.

  16. Phil Cruz

    The movie “Wag the Dog” is being shown again on HBO. For those who haven’t seen it yet, watch for its replays. How to distract the public from focusing on a President’s “sins” by creating a fictitious war. That’s the theme.

    It’s the favorite movie of the Palace spinmasters (Saludo, Lupita, little Mike, et al.), that’s for sure.

  17. juan makabayan

    More on the issue of the church-state separation,and with all due respect to our legal eagles,
    the issue of the principle of the separation of the church and the state is only a result of or, in the particular circumstance at hand, secondary to the primary issue of the mental state of the head of state being separate or far from reality, much more from the church and the constitution.
    In short the root of problem is not legal but mental, in fact, the head of state could not be made to understand the obvious nor admit the truth. But there is a legal solution for the problem of the state but not for the head. The separation of a head of state, whose head is in a very bad state, from the seat of power of the state could be based on the Constitutional provisions on her disability to govern. Article VII. Sec.11 provides for when “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. Congress “determines by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, voting separately, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice- President shall act as President; otherwise, the President shall continue exercising the powers and duties of his office” Also.Section 12. In case of serious (mental) illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of her (mental) health. But the state of mind in the lower house is the same as that of the head.

    Who will address the state of the nation that is in as bad a state as the mental state of the head of state who is separated from reality, the church, the constitution and the people?

  18. anna de brux

    Phil,

    I read about that item on lukayo (can’t remember if I read it in MLQ3’s blog (?)

    Wonder why MTCRB banned it… it’s Philippine folklore; it was no less offensive than those lenten crucifixions and flagellations we see on TV.

  19. Phil Cruz

    Anna, that “lukayo” item was Baycas’…ha ha.

  20. anna de brux

    Oh my goodness me! Thanks, Phil and please accept my apologies. I did read that lukayo article of yours sometime ago and thought it was funny.

    This is embarassing – I honestly thought it was Phil who signed that post so addressed my comment to Phil heheheh – darn, gotta have my reading glasses changed to more powerful ones – eeeeeeek!

  21. anna de brux

    Ooooooops, again! I meant: “and please accept my apologies, Baycas.”

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