Priests can become fair game-A A +A
Thursday, March 7, 2013
THE Supreme Court acted fairly in restraining the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from forcing the Diocese of Bacolod to remove the “Team Patay, Team Buhay” tarpaulin from the walls of the San Sebastian Cathedral. I would not be surprised if the High Tribunal would permanently enjoin the Comelec from bothering with the Church’s campaign posters.
Sixto Brilliantes Jr. and company should not have wasted time on issues like the Church’s election materials. That they are oversized does not make taking down those posters top priority in the poll body’s agenda, especially when you consider that similar violations are being committed by candidates and their supporters with apparent impunity. Why single out the Church?
The archbishop of Bacolod and his 90 priests are merely expressing their opinions as Filipino citizens and, by all means, we should all let their voices be heard. In fact, I challenge the bishops and the priests to go farther than just display election propaganda. They should join the campaign trail or at least make their pitch from the pulpit.
But as I have written earlier in this space, they should be prepared for the consequences. The moment they become openly partisan, they also become fair game. They better not have skeletons in their closet. What was it that a Cebuano politician, now dead, once said about politics? Duwa sa yawa?
It is noteworthy that the Church in the Philippines has chosen to flex its political muscles at a time when it is extremely vulnerable in other parts of the world. As if the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI for health reasons wasn’t worrisome enough, another blow shook the Church’s foundations in the form of the untimely departure of its head in England amid claims of sexual misbehavior.
In fact, the same problem of sexual abuse seems to plague the Catholic hierarchy all over the world, including, most unfortunately, the Philippines. Reports of dalliances by men of the cloth continue to surface, along with accusations of coddling of the errant ones by their superiors.
The front page story in yesterday’s issue of Sun.Star Cebu points to a growing concern among the faithful over the seemingly cavalier way that the Church has treated and continues to treat cases of sexual abuse committed by priests.
A survey by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) revealed that a huge majority of the Catholic faithful want the problem of priests with runaway libido identified as a priority by the new Pope, according to the Sun.Star report.
Of course, we can always point out, correctly if I may add, that the priests who have strayed constitute a very small minority compared to the many who have remained faithful to their priestly vows. But don’t we look up to the Church as a symbol of perfection so that anything that disturbs that perception shakes our faith?
Pray, a priest friend once told me when I asked him what we should do about his colleagues who have stained their cassocks. Let’s pray that they find their way. I nodded in assent then. I wonder if I’d be as readily accepting if I am told the same thing now. Might I not ask if it is fair that we are asked to pray while they are busy campaigning?
Malaysian fighter jets and helicopters pounded an area where the Sultanate of Sulu’s rag tag “army” was believed encamped but after the smoke from the powerful bombs cleared, no one was found, dead or alive.
The Sultan’s men simply vanished. Now, the Malaysian army and police are frantically looking for them. Welcome to the age of guerilla warfare, gentlemen.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 07, 2013.