Is Church ‘ready to rumble?’

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Thursday, January 31, 2013


CATHOLIC bishops Tuesday unleashed a torrent of criticisms against the Aquino government, its strongest yet since President Aquino assumed power in 2010.

The blast came after the bi-annual plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, warning Filipinos of "social and political storms ahead."

Clearly smarting from failure to block the reproductive health (RH) bill, which President Aquino signed into law last December, the bishops are ready to do battle against Team PNoy and political dynasties.

Or so they sounded.

Any tempest the bishops can create must be within church and state laws, a continuing handicap.

There's no unrest as pretext for bishops to meddle as they did in Edsa revolts of 1986 and 2001.

The Aquino government still enjoys high popularity. How will they whip up discontent without inciting sedition?

Church opposition has so far been limited to protest voices in pulpits, streets, and media, and lawsuits to assail the RH law.

Riddles

To be sure, the bishops want to punish legislators who voted for the RH bill. But they need to do more than exhorting voters in vague language.

Unlike another religious group whose members vote as a vast, solid bloc, the Church doesn't command, it only persuades. And riddles and parables don't help.

If the bishops are "ready to rumble," they must revise strategy and work like a third force in politics.

But going all the way might step on some church precepts and expose actual weakness or strength of the church vote.

(paseares@sunstar.com.ph)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 01, 2013.

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