The burden is on media that has the duty to rake up tightly kept secrets of government. The state will never make them public even if there is a law that requires it to be.
Media is considered as classical adversary of the State precisely because it cannot be conned into cooperating with the government. [really?]
Therefore, law or no law, media should find a way of getting the information denied or hidden from the public. If the principal objective of the Catholic Church, in fact of all Christian churches, is to promote spiritual well being, it should not meddle in the affairs of the state, if only to comply with the Constitutional provision that the Church and the State are separate.
The danger is if the government and the Church come to terms because freedom of information is automatically lost. Both will protect each other.
The Catholic Church’s main obligation is to save the souls of its brethren from the fires of hell. This obligation is not performed by the Church when it closes its eyes to whatever the state accomplishes for its people. We acknowledge the right of the Church to criticize the acts of government. It may denounce government but it must at the same time be impartial in its judgment like media tries to be impartial.
The Catholic bishops who obviously do not fully understand the import of the information bill do not appreciate the fact that the Freedom of Information Bill practically forces government to hand on a silver platter to media and the public all the state information.
The Catholic Church failed to take into consideration the fact that President Aquino continues to enjoy the support of his people. Nothing proves this better than the fact that his trust and acceptability rating remains high after almost three years in office.
Gloria Arroyo began to rot by the beginning of the third year of her grabbed term. What did the Catholic bishops say of her corruption? Nothing much.
Therefore, if these bishops respect public opinion, they should not maliciously accuse President Aquino of committing many sins, particularly his failure to pressure Congress to pas the Freedom of Information Bill.
The bishops also gave the administration of President Aquino a severe tongue-lashing when it declared or made the accusation that public officials are unable and not willing to share their resources to the poor.
This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The Catholic Church vehemently fought but lost on the Reproductive Health Bill. Now its bishops rant against public officials for neglecting the plight of the less privileged.
This is sheer, unadulterated hypocrisy. The objection to the enactment of the maternal health law should force the Catholic Church to build more orphanages for the street urchins who roam the city, bowl in hand begging for food.
After all, the Church is supported by money raised from the poor. It is the Catholic Church that indoctrinated the poor to believe that praying and tithing is a mandate of the Bible. [What else? What about all the Ten Commandments, as God wrote it with His own finger, not as they changed it, particularly the second which expressly forbids the worship of images, and the fourth, which clearly commands all to “keep the seventh holy as the Sabbath day of the Lord thy God,” but which they boldly claimed to have “transferred the sanctity to the first day of the week, Sunday!]
The poor part with a few centavos for the Church, hoping that God will free them from poverty and disease. In pastoral letters and homilies, the bishops and priests hardly ever tell their brethren that the three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity must be accompanied by hard work.
The Church takes full advantage of the virtue of Charity enticing the faithful to contribute to the Church. Such is Charity. Charity cannot be a virtue of a man who hears Sunday mass with his large brood on empty stomachs and yet parts with a few centavos [American penny] in the hope of a miracle from God will happen to them get them out of the rut in which they were born.
In a manner of speaking, this is bribing God for survival although the Bible requires tithing as part of a good religious life. The poor will never realize or come to grips with the fact that the most expensive institutions of higher education in this country are owned by the Catholic Church. The law does not require them to pay taxes.
The exception is the De La Salle University, which has expanded to the provinces. It has a big number of scholars comprising indigent but intelligent students. Whatever it makes it plowed back to expansion.
I cannot say the same of the rest of Catholic schools. Many of them are elitist, anti-poor.
How oxymoronic can the Catholic bishops get? In its recent closed-door conference, the CBCP concluded that the State of the government has failed to provide secure jobs, decent housing and health care to the poor.
This is a result of a population explosion that the Catholic Church has promoted by objecting to the family health bill. Its leaders tried to convince their brethren that the bill, now a law, facilitates abortion. The people, through their representatives in Congress, turned a deaf ear to the pleas of the Church.
The Church helped expand the numbers of the poor, hungry people by indoctrinating them to accept their lot because, as taught by the [Catholic] Spanish friars, that is what God willed for them.
Which god wants his people to be poor? But they will remain poor and become poorer if there are too many mouths competing for scarce food.”
Where’s Jesus Christ?
February 4, 20123 / Featured, Opinion
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star
Where’s Jesus Christ? How come there’s hardly Christ that’s reflected in the behavior of the people who call themselves Christians, most of them Roman Catholics? Christ commanded us to love the least of our brethren but the least is hardly cared for in our country. Instead, the least are exploited.
Where’s Jesus Christ? How come some of His Bishops have abandoned their vows and are now embracing worldly bad habits? They’ve metamorphosed as today’s Pharisees. How come some of the Catholic Bishops have actively embraced politics, the realm of the temporal power, when their role is to shepherd the spiritual needs of God’s flock?
‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ Jesus Christ said and so why are the men of the cloth so rich and do not even open their vast lands to provide homes for the poorest of poor?
Where’s Jesus Christ when an Archbishop here said that there can be no reconciliation with the current administration because of the RH Bill? Didn’t Christ preach that we should love your enemies and turn the other cheek? “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Christ also said.
Where’s Jesus Christ? How come some of those lay organizations, that we had hoped would be the saviors of the Catholic Church, have lost their dynamism to reach out and embrace the least of our brethren? Many of them have transformed into exclusive clubs instead of going out and sharing their ideal with the least who have not experienced it or even heard of it. They were supposed to go out of their comfort zones and uplift others—yet they barricaded themselves like a quarantine camp, fearing contamination.
Christian groups that operate like exclusive social clubs are falling into the very same syndrome that engulfed the early Church under St.Peter. Christianity would not have grown if they had persisted in hiding in the catacombs. It was the ascendancy of St. Paul that paved the way for Christians to go out and spread the faith among nations.
Today, the Catholic Church is badly in need of a St. Paul—one who sees a brother in every different race that he encounters and in every person with a different mindset that he meets. Christianity is a revolution that isn’t meant to be an exclusive club or a quarantine area. Christ embraced the lepers. How much more vivid an example do these Catholic groups need in order to appreciate and internalize the point?
As it was then in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ today continues to be betrayed by those who are supposed to champion His cause and raise His standard on earth. His every enemies, the Pharisees, have passed on their disease to some Bishops here and other members of the clergy. The Pharisees were very good at posing as pious men while privately they worshipped Mammon, not the Lord, and played politics.
To be fair, there are those like the Jesuits who remain dedicated to the Christian dynamism that St. Paul exemplified, The Jesuits set the example in spreading the Christian mission as well as promote worthy causes like the Gawad Kalinga of Tony Meloto. It is no coincidence that some Bishops opted to treat Tony Meloto as a leper and ordered the separation of the Couples for Christ from Gawad Kalinga.
This issue illustrates the divide between Catholics who see more importance in just talking about God instead of embracing the lepers of the world like Christ did. Who’s the real Christian and follower of Christ—the so-called ‘evangelist’ who does nothing but preach or the person who embraces the least of his brethren, provides them homes and teaches them values that help them rise from their sorry conditions?
Jesus Christ simplified our trek to Heaven by issuing a simple commandment that would have ensured that we would remain in the state of grace. That commandment of the Lord is, “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto Me.’ Knowing our pigheadedness, the Lord even rephrased that commandment to: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.” That means that we embrace the lepers, we suffer for the sins of others and we even offer our lives for others.
In the Gospels the only instance when Christ demonstrated anger and physical violence was when He created a commotion in the temple over the commerce that was being transacted there. That would underscore that the Lord saw the insidious corrosion that the filthy coin of commerce does to the soul. The coin of commerce is the currency of Mammon and we should not be too attached to it.
A Jesuit education is aimed at the developing of men for others. And yet, Jesuit-educated Ateneo alumni have taken their ignoble place as the Blue Vultures that plundered our poor country. To steal 10 million [pesos] from the poor is greater transgression in the eyes of the Lord than to steal 100,000 pesos from a billionaire. How could Jesuit-trained Ateneans steal so much from a very poor country like ours? Theirs is the disease of Mammon.
Where’s Jesus Christ? How come that after 400 years of administering the Christian faith here there’s so much greed, violence, back-stabbing and hatred in our archipelago? Isn’t this a condemnation of the failure of the Catholic Church in the Philippines? How come, with all their parishes, they never made an impact on promoting values the way Gawad Kalinga has been successfully been doing it? How come then that some Bishops separated themselves from Gawad Kalinga? Maybe it’s the fear of the unworthy to stand beside the worthy and thus be exposed.
One of the most dramatic messages that catapulted Ramon Magsaysay to the presidency in 1953 was an artist’s rendition of how he carried the body of Moises Padilla, a local hero who was publicly beaten and then killed by a powerful warlord. On Plaza Miranda, Magsaysay wisely followed up the impact of the poster and announced that when he carried the body of Moises Padilla (which he never did), he felt that he was carrying the body of the Filipino people.
Our Catholic Church leaders could learn a lesson from the late president Ramon Magsaysay over carrying the body of Moises Padilla. It’s time that our Catholic Church leaders embrace and carry the least of the Filipino people. Open you coffers, share your lands and stop indulging in politics.”
Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”
Chair Wrecker email and website:firstname.lastname@example.org and www.chairwrecker.com
Church critic Carlos Celdran convicted for raising Damaso sign in cathedral
February 3, 2013 / Politics & Government Global Balita Feb. 4th 2013
By Mark Meruenas
(Updated 12: 39 a.m. January 2013). – A Manila court has found a Manila tour guide and RH advocate Carlos Celdran guilty of “offending religious feelings” for disrupting an ecumenical service at the Manila Cathedral in September 2010 in protest of the Catholic Church’s opposition to the then Reproductive Health Bill.
Celdran, then dressed as national hero Jose Rizal, held up a placard with the word “Damaso” before the Papal Nuncio, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, several bishops and other religious, a reference to the villainous friar from Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere.”
“All told, the positive declaration of the (prosecution) witnesses . . .(is) sufficient to satisfy the quantum of evidence needed for criminal conviction,” said the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court handling the case in its resolution.
Celdran was found guilty of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code which penalizes offending religious feelings. The law has been in the books since 1930.
Article 133 punishes anyone who “in place of worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.”
Celdran was sentenced to spend between two months and one year in jail.
Celdran’s case is not the first time someone was accused of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. There have been numerous instances since the 1930’s in which people have been hauled to court over the law.
An early example is the August 1934 case, in which a group of people were accused of disrupting a pabasa in La Paz, Tarlac, when they begun constructing a barbed wire fence in front of the chapel where it was being held. The group was acquitted after the court ruled that the act of the building the fence was, while irritating to those present, could not be seen as offensive to the Catholic faithful.
Cedran to appeal decision In an interview with GMA News Online, Celdran—who was out on bail—said he wants to appeal his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which he hopes will declare the archaic law unconstitutional. Celdran told GMA News Online in an interview that “this proves that any parish priest can put you in jail if he is offended . . . The laws of “Noli” are alive and well and still working. The time of Jose Rizal is not over.”
“This issue will just get bigger. It’s a freedom of speech issue,” Celdran said.
“I’m ready to fight, but right now I just want a halo-halo,” he told GMA News Online.
Lawyers have begun weighing in on what could become a landmark case. “The decision is unconstitutional. It does not explain why Celdran’s acts violated religious feelings; it merely narrated the events and stated that witnesses claimed they were offended,” says law professor and Harvard-educated lawyer Oscar Franklin Barcelona Tan. “The decision stated that an act violating religious feelings must be ‘directed against religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule.’ However, Celdran was quoted as only saying,’ You Bishops, stop involving yourselves in politics,’ which is a political (not a religious) message.”
These exciting and ominous developments in the Philippines is but a Philippine-sized scenario of what is currently unfolding and will reach its stupendous climax in the United States in the days to come where the final crisis will be between church and state and the issue will be between man-made religious laws and the commandments of God.
It also clearly shows that the term “the Church” here clearly refers to the Roman Catholic Church as “the mother,” and her “daughters” the once-Protestant Churches who follow adopt the Church’s two main pillar doctrines—the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness—and then follow her example of denying the right of a minority who refuse to accept these doctrines because they are clearly based on “the traditions and commandments of man” being substituted as the law and Word of God as it was in the time of Christ—with the Sanhedrin, the highest religious authority of the Jewish nation—confronted and condemned Jesus Christ to the death of the cross.
The sudden resignation of the current Pope, Benedict XVI, caught the world by surprise, and many speculations are proliferating. James Joyner, publisher of Outside the Beltway, observes:
“The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1423 to end what was known as the Western Schism among several competitors to the papacy.” He wrote:
“Most of us woke up this morning [February 11, 2013] to the shocking news that Pope Benedict XVI was resigning as head of the Roman Catholic Church. Considering that Vicar of Christ is traditionally a position one holds for life, we all wondered what could have prompted the move. His explanation in full, via a note to the College of Cardinals: [letter quoted].
What was the Great Western Schism? Three rival lines of pontiffs (popes) simultaneously claiming the position as Pontiff! According to Broderick:
“Doubt still shrouds the rival three lines of pontiffs during the four decades subsequent to the still disputed papal elections of 1378. This makes suspect the credentials created by the Roman, Avignon, and Pisan claims to the Apostolic See. Unity was finally restored without a definitive solution to the question, for the Council of Constance succeeded in terminating the Western Schism, not by declaring which of the three claimants was the rightful one, but by eliminating all of them by forcing their abdication or deposition, and then setting up a novel arrangement for choosing a new pope acceptable to all sides. To this day the Church has never made any official, authoritative pronouncement about the papal lines of succession for this confusing period; nor has Martin V or any of his successors. Modern scholars are not agreed in their solutions; although they tend to favor the Roman line.” – See on the web “The Great Western Schism (1378-1413) and what it teaches.”
And yet the Church claims uninterrupted Apostolic Succession from Peter, alleged to be the “first pope,” hence, the claims to their authority as the true universal (Catholic) Church. Christ is the head of the true Christian church, not Peter. The Vicar of Christ, as Christ Himself promised and gave to His disciples, is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, not any mortal—man or woman!
(To be continued next month).