Opposite directions-A A +A
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
TWO institutions with the most power to influence Filipino lives went in opposite directions in 2012.
President Benigno Aquino III’s administration moved towards transparent, accountable and responsive governance with programs like an anti-corruption drive and legislation like the anti-forced disappearance law and the reproductive health law, to mention some. It has also succeeded to bring war-torn Mindanao closest to achieving unity and peace.
Sure, it failed to make bold moves on many other problems like rural poverty, private armies, and the involvement of officials in gambling, drugs and criminality. Still, in the final arithmetic, the bottom line shows a positive step towards the restoration of people’s trust and investors’ confidence in government. As a result, democracy was more alive than ever and the Philippines was one of the faster growing economies in Asia in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), moved backwards and away from transparent, accountable and responsive governance of the nation’s Catholics. In liturgy, it went back to pre-Vatican II practices like the use of arcane (as in unintelligible) language in its rituals. In governance, bishops became more entrenched in the feudal ways by which they have always run dioceses and parishes.
They made all the decisions, listened to no one except the Vatican and their sycophants and brooked no questions on their authority from clergy and laity. Instead of making serious attempts to close the gap between them and the people, they made extremely bold and stubborn moves to widen the gap between their comfortable lives and the desperately miserable lives of many Catholics. They cold-heartedly and unilaterally put faith above charity, doctrine and law above compassion in the people’s greatest hour of need.
In 2012, democracy in the Church went dead in the water while authoritarianism thrived as lay participation and empowerment gained no ground with the Catholic hierarchy. As a result, Catholics who searched for genuine spirituality drifted away, disillusioned by the aloofness of a celibate hierarchy who went about their daily routine unmindful of the deeply human issues people grapple with in their daily lives.
Human development is growth in mental and spiritual maturity or independence that both Government and Church, in their respective spheres of influence, can foster through people’s participation in decision-making and people’s empowerment towards taking personal responsibility for their lives.
The government, although faltering, made a step in the right direction in 2012.
Unfortunately, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church went exactly the other way.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 09, 2013.