Graces for church and state

By: Jason A. Baguia May 27,2016 - 08:55 PM

Flowering of Thought

First, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte cursed Pope Francis over the traffic jams that attended the Catholic Church leader’s apostolic visit to the Philippines in 2015.

Next, the mayor’s camp made public a conciliatory missive from an official of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, in response to a letter in which Duterte apologized for his barbs.

May 9, 2016 elections showed that Duterte would succeed President Benigno Aquino III. News broke that the mayor planned to fly to Vatican City and convey his mea culpa in a face-to-face conversation with the Holy Father.

But Duterte changed his mind, choosing instead to castigate the Philippine Catholic hierarchy for its sins and chime the Church as the “most hypocritical” of institutions.

He framed his tirade as retaliation for the bishops’ pastoral letter on the eve of the elections, when they urged voters to reject “morally reprehensible” candidates.

The incoming President felt he was targeted. Now, his refrain goes, a Church that is itself sinful has no business issuing moral pronouncements on State affairs.

Among their sins that to Duterte makes Church leaders false prophets were his own alleged abuse by a priest, unnamed clergymen’s breach of their promise of celibacy and churchmen’s solicitation of government aid.

If Duterte was indeed abused in his boyhood, no word minus divine grace will pacify the part of his psyche that molestation wrecked and wrapped in resentment. This the Society of Jesus, the religious order of the deceased whom Duterte accuses must work out with him. Follow the Jesuit Pope

Francis and his predecessors who have reached out to and even wept with abuse victims.

Meanwhile, as Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan said, the Church has its own protocols to discipline erring priests.

Complainants only need to come forward so that offenders may be dealt with accordingly.

With regard to Duterte’s argument that the Church violates the Constitution when members seek help from the government, the citizenry that is mostly also Catholic must be extra skeptical.

Does the government, in the same vein, violate Church-State separation when it works with volunteers from ecclesiastically-inspired groups like the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting to ensure clean elections? It did in the polls that by all indications Duterte just won.

Does the State violate the Constitution in hard times like the 2013 typhoon Yolanda by linking arms with church-based organizations such as Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan to maximize relief and recovery services?

In 2011, when the use of public funds in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to give vehicles to some bishops became controversial, they confessed to a lapse in judgment. The prelates returned the cars.

In a world that is imperfect but for grace, no one may be fairly called a hypocrite who has acknowledged his sin and trodden the path of purification instead of flaunting it.

Duterte won the presidential elections in spite of fitting—in his very own appraisal—the description “morally reprehensible.” It is up to him to see that as a grace, an admonition to reform.

The Church—laity, religious and clergy—in spite of her sins of omission or commission, for which she prays Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Miserere nobis at every Mass, has not been relieved of her duty to speak out on behalf of victims of extrajudicial killings, abortifacients, the contraceptive mentality, foul discourse, human rights violations and other evils.

That, too, is a grace.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, election, Pope Francis

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.