Editorial: Ivory, pedophilia and RH Bill?-A A +A
Friday, September 28, 2012
HOW some bishops would believe that the news items against Msgr. Cristobal Garcia were related to the Catholic Church’s stand against the reproductive health bill underlines the Church officials’ blindness to what is ailing the Church.
The killing of elephants for ivory has long been a global environment concern, much like the shrinking glaciers and the polar bears.
With the Santo Niño images shown as made of ivory, the first line of defense should have been that these are antiques or that these were acquired before the ivory trade was banned. That could have been a valid defense since, admit it, a lot of religious icons are made of ivory, even piano keys were made of ivory. Thus, owning an old piano with ivory keys is not a crime.
The claims of these bishops who came to the defense of Garcia saying that the issues against Garcia was because of the Catholic Church’s stand against Reproductive Health (RH) Bill is preposterous. The issue was about was about the slaughter of elephants for ivory and the ivory images of the Santo Nino, which led to the question, who is that monsignor again?, which led to the discovery of his earlier dalliances with young boys in the United States.
This has nothing to do with the RH Bill. Rather, this has something to do with how the Church attends to valid issues like pedophilia among their individual erring priests that for decades on ends have just been swept under the rug with most of the guilty priests kept under the rug as well.
Lo and behold, this one wasn’t hidden but given a promotion at that. The accusations of pedophilia against him in an individual act, but the fact that he became a monsignor after that makes it a Church’s act.
How can the disbelief and anger from parishioners be brushed off as an act to discredit the Church because of its stand against RH Bill is once again refusing to acknowledge the scandal that had long tarnished the Church and is now taking its toll on its credibility? Throughout the years, all over the world, the Catholic Church is beset by two issues: pedophilia and priests who continue to wear the cassock while co-habiting and copulating with some unmarried, even married, women. But the Church simply does not want to address this.
The poor parishioners are not as privileged. They can be denied enrollment of their children, they can even be denied graduation from some Church-sponsored scholarship because they are co-habiting and living as one family without the Sacrament of Marriage. The poor couples who are not gifted with children are even chided for living in sin and for not being blessed, and yet at the same time in the same illogical train of mind, the priests are fast in condemning as sinners those who indulge in pre-marital sex and are just as fast in denying appeals to be annulled. Tell us, father, how would a couple know they cannot beget children in a marriage if they haven’t tested their wares first? After they sought to take the holy sacrament of marriage before even exploring each other’s body, they are now made to feel unworthy because they are barren. Where’s Christ in that?
But these are all manifestations of a bigger problem, the same problem that when applied to governance can create unthinkable horrors like the Ampatuan Massacre and the continuing enforced disappearances. One word: Impunity.
Outrageous? Think about it. The reason why Church officials can speak as though they alone are deserving of entering the Pearly Gates is because not one of them has been made to account for their sins against boys, against women, and against their parishioners in general when they speak down on them. Those who opt out and get married are even looked down on by some of those cling to the cassock while hiding boys and women beneath their robes. Impunity on going against their vows of sanctity, poverty, and Christ-like demeanor because not even their superiors are holding them accountable for what they are saying and doing.
Bottomline, Fathers and Bishops, let us address the issue against Garcia from where it started: the ivories and alleged pedophilia. Make him accountable for these, or be proven innocent of these, instead of trying to spread the blame for his sins to the people.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 29, 2012.