Napoles doleout: bishops and the devil

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Monday, May 26, 2014


“I wouldn’t care if I got the money from the devil provided I could help the poor.”
--A bishop

YEARS ago that quote was attributed in a news report to a bishop who later said he was taken out of context. He didn't literally mean it, he said.

It's an issue not definitively settled in the Catholic Church. It seems bishops and priests are left to themselves to decide each questionable donation.

Current uproar over millions of pesos doled out by pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to, among others, a bishop and priests and nuns stirs anew debate among the laity. As the controversy over six "Pajero bishops" and one priest in a 2009 COA
report.

May the clergy accept donation from corrupt politicians, drug lords, or someone like Napoles who's accused of plunder?

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle said that "technically," accepting a donation the donee doesn't know to be toxic doesn't make one culpable. Knowledge is his operative word. But is there official church policy?

How about the view of Mother Teresa defenders that she followed the example of Jesus by never judging donors? She accepted dirty money to pay for her acts of mercy.

Technically

Napoles, still to be tried, "technically" is not yet guilty. And could the Quiapo bishop put off returning Janet's P2 million until the Supreme Court would affirm her conviction?

The public though disregards legal nuances in judging people accused of large-scale thievery. They form opinion on what appears to be obscenely wrong, technicalities be damned.

(paseares@sunstar.com.ph)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 27, 2014.

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