The President seems prepared to hold an auto da fe for Bishop Yniguez. He’s royally ticked her off. She’s apparently given instructions for Papal encyclicals to be thoroughly vetted for anything that might serve as a condemnation of the bishop’s filing an impeachment complaint against her.
Precision when it comes to using and referring to Catholic terminology is essential. See definitions of encyclicals, of apostolic constitutions, and of canon law for useful distinctions and to understand the roles they play in Catholic life. While Papal letters and the decrees of Councils of the Church deal with faith and morals, the Code of Canon law serves as the body of laws with regards to the administration of the Catholic Church. The full text of the 1983 Code of Canon Law is online. Is there anything in canon law to prohibit Bishop Yniguez from doing what he did?From what I’ve found, there’s nothing.
In Chapter III, The obligations and rights of clerics: Canon 285, Sec. 3: Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.
Book II, The People of God, Part II, The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church, Section 2, Particular Churches and their groupings, Title I, Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them, Chapter II, Bishops, Article 1, Bishops in General, we find: Ã‚Â§5. In the future, no rights and privileges of election, nomination, presentation, or designation of bishops are granted to civil authorities. In Article 2, Diocesan Bishops, there is nothing that pertains to the civil authorities.
A search of the word “civil” brings up all references to civil authorities in canon law. Happy hunting.
Here is a useful guide, though principally addressed to American Catholics. It’s titled on Faithful Citizenship, which further boils down and defines Catholic precepts for political participation:
The Church is called to educate Catholics about our social teaching, highlight the moral dimensions of public policies, participate in debates on matters affecting the common good, and witness to the Gospel through our services and ministries. The Catholic community’s participation in public affairs does not undermine, but enriches the political process and affirms genuine pluralism. Leaders of the Church have the right and duty to share Catholic teaching and to educate Catholics on the moral dimensions of public life, so that they may form their consciences in light of their faith.
The American bishops make reference to Doctrinal Note on some questions regardingThe Participation of Catholics in Political Life issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Holy Office, and earlier known as The Holy Roman Inquisition), prepared by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (the present pope) and approved by John Paul II. Because of the nature of the responsibilities of that congregation, the paper represents the last word on the matter, though of course reference has to be made to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Reading the Doctrinal Note, I don’t see any prohibition on what Bishop Yniguez did. Indeed, the following passage (II. Central Points in the Current Cultural and Political Debate), seems particularly relevant:
3.Ã‚Â … It is not the ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s task to set forth specific political solutions Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and even less to propose a single solution as the acceptable one Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to temporal questions that God has left to the free and responsible judgment of each person. It is, however, the ChurchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right and duty to provide a moral judgment on temporal matters when this is required by faith or the moral law. If Christians must Ã‚Â«recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairsÃ‚Â«, they are also called to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism. Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society.
Speaking as a whole, the Philippine hierarchy never proposed one, particular solution, Individual bishops have professed opinions, because after all, a bishop is not the entire Church, and he only has influence outside his diocese; as I understand it, in such cases, he is speaking in his capacity as a citizen of some standing in the community, a person who can be listened to but who doesn’t necessarily have to be obeyed in secular matters in which he doesn’t have any particular competency (unless, say, he is also a lawyer).