The Explainer: Church and State sources

Thank you to those who watched my show last night, and who sent in their comments. As you could tell, the show’s evolving but this early on, we’re trying to establish what viewers should expect.

First of all, since the show aims to provide a crash course in the issues, this requires putting together a lot of information. The show is just the first step. We’ll be encouraging viewers to go over our sources, do further readings, after our show airs, and to participate in coming up with new topics. Also, if things need further explanation, viewers are welcome to ask away: sometimes who know, other viewers can help answer questions, and certainly, we’ll do our best to point viewers in the right direction.

And yes, part of our plans is to make the show available on line, but the ABS-CBN technical people are still working on both The Explainer blog, and the other content.

Here’s a roundup of our sources and some recommended readings, based on last night’s show, on Church and State. Here’s information and sources based on each segment of the show.

I. From the Inquisition to Deus Caritas Est

The Inquisition: Online resources range from Wikipedia’s entry on the Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition, and Auto da fe (the part of the Inquisition we usually see in films). For those who prefer a more institutionally-backed online reading, there’s this good summary and discussion in The Galileo Project. There’s also James Hitchcock, (professor of history at St. Louis University) who goes over recent scholarship on the subject, from a Catholic point of view.

A book I’ve read, and can recommend, is Inquisition, by Edward Peters.

Doctrinal matters in the Catholic Church, once the responsibility of the Universal Inquisition, then the Holy Office, is the area of responsibility of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, previously administered by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. (here’s its current membership).

The Age of Enlightenment involves looking at the emergence of science in the Renaissance, and the flowering of reason, exemplified by the lives of Rousseau, of Diderot and his Encyclopédie,, and of course, Voltaire.

Again, if you don’t like relying on Wikipedia, there are good overviews on the Enlightenment by Paul Brians, and a more elaborate site in the same educational institution, titled The European Enlightenment, virtually a self-sufficient online course on its own. Other resources can be found in the Enlightenment section of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook.

But for an engaging overview of the shift of mankind’s ideas, from one in which religion and piety ruled all, to one ruled by reason and science, “The Seekers : The Story of Man’s Continuing Quest to Understand His World (Vintage)” (Daniel J. Boorstin) can’t be beat.

My favorite overall book on understanding the Catholic Church as a government and institution, is “Inside the Vatican : The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church” (Thomas, S.J. Reese). It’s really a remarkable book.

I mentioned a whole slew of Church documents which you may wish to look over:

The Code of Canon Law, in particular the sections on priests and on bishops;

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding The Participations of Catholics in Political Life (written by the present pope when he was still Cardinal);

Pope Benedict XVI’s encylical, Deus Caritas Est, and his speech to political parties in Europe;

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (issued in time for the 2004 American presidential election);

the most recent pastoral statement by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Shepherding and Prophesying in Hope: A CBCP Pastoral Letter on Social Concerns.

II. The Filipino separation of Church & State

We pointed out that Thomas More is the patron saint of politicians and statesmen. Read John Paul II’s proclamation to find out why.

I never cease recommending Apolinario Mabini’s The Philippine Revolution as the one book on our first independence struggle that, given limited time and resources for most people, has everything you need and should know on the era. What is readily available is the English translation by Leon Ma. Guerrero, which is on line; there is also a translation into Tagalog, of Guerrero’s translation. The question of the Filipinization of the clergy is discussed in his book.

You should also read the 1899 Constitution of the Philippines, ratified at Malolos.

Regarding past controversies, the debate over the vetoing of the religious instruction bill during the Commonwealth, and the debate over the Rizal Law, were covered by the Philippines Free Press at the time.

Church and State and the development of the Philippine nation are also thoroughly discussed in “State and Society in the Philippines (State and Society in East Asia)” (Abinales Patricio N.), which is a book I admire very much (and available locally).

III. The discussion

My guests were Manila Standard-Today editor-in-chief and columnist Jojo Robles, and blogger Dean Jorge Bocobo of Philippine Commentary.

IV. My view

This was my closing statement on the show:

We often hear render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and what is God’s to God. But we forget Christians defied the Caesars when Caesars wanted to be worshipped like gods. The separation of church and state means government has no business requiring us to worship a specific god, or any god. But the state’s required to accept that those with faith, have a right to inform their politics with their religion. Thats why our constitution says there can’t be an official religion, and you can’t be tested on your beliefs as a qualification for office.

Next week, The Explainer will be tackling the rhyme and reason we have State of the Nation addresses; how they began, how they’re written, and how we should pick apart their meanings.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

9 thoughts on “The Explainer: Church and State sources

  1. nick, one problem that has to be resolved viz. the explainer blog, is that there might be concerns about content and exposure (legally) by the network. any ideas how that might be resolved? that’s one reason i don’t jump into the idea of a wiki immediately (plus, i don’t think i have the time to actively monitor such a wiki).

  2. mlq, here’s a suggestion re SONA. perhaps you can invite teddy boy locsin who is both a legislator and noted speechwriter of Aquino (and sometimes PGMA?) as a resource person. this way your viewers will get to know more about the behind-the-scenes work in crafting the SONA.


    Nothing can compare with the speech given by Frederick Douglas a former slave on July 4, 1852 encompassing all the ideals and principles of “…all men are created equal.

    His own empirical history gave life to all the ideals of the enlightenment period. The beauty of it is that it came from a “savage.”

  4. p.s. I’m not saying you didn’t rock it the first time. I’m saying everything is uphill from here. And by the way, your links page is wonky.

  5. mlq3,
    congrats, great show!,
    re SONA please tackle the issue you had mentioned about a tradition of including the budget in the sona. in this sona, budget for 2007 an election year. how many re-enacted budger under gma? 2004 was an election year with a re-enacted budget and an incumbent running as a candidate! (double anomaly!!)

  6. Saw you on TV—actually, I was *surprised* to see you on ANC. Didn’t know that the TV show was entirely yours until I visited here. Anyway, congratulations! I’m looking forward to the next installment 🙂

  7. 2006-07 is worsening crisis period. It would not be unreasonable for the Vice President to prepare his version of the SONA. Anything can happen within the next 12 months. It is better for a VP to be prepared. Otherwise, it would be a double disaster if an ‘accident’ happens.

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