Briones: State and religion

On the go

APPARENTLY, it’s a big deal, although even that is an understatement.

But two years from now, the province and the whole country will celebrate 500 years of Roman Catholicism. The Archdiocese of Cebu has not wasted its time. It has asked the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to repair the Cathedral Museum, which is located on the street beside the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.

The archdiocese wants to make sure the former rectory’s roof, walls and trusses can withstand a natural calamity.

No one wants the more than century-old structure to come tumbling down during a strong typhoon or earthquake in the midst of all the expected fanfare.

Anyway, the NHCP has proposed a P10-million budget for the project.

Final approval rests on the Department of Budget and Management and the President since the National Economic and Development Authority has already given it the thumbs up.

I know many will question why the government needs to be involved in what should be a church endeavor. After all, the Constitution does call for the separation of church and state.

But, as Fr. Brian Brigoli pointed out, the museum is considered a heritage structure so it falls under the jurisdiction of the NHCP. Or something like that. Am I correct?

Fr. Brigoli is chairman of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, so I’ll just take his word for it. And he is a priest, after all. And priests don’t lie. Don’t they?

Then again, the church is not exactly poor. It has had the last 498 years to fill up its coffers.

Oh don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that’s bad. After all, saving souls from eternal damnation can be taxing. And trust me, there are a lot of souls out there that need saving. So it’s only fair that the church should be well compensated for its efforts.

And you all know that nothing is free in this world. Nothing. Not even the keys to Paradise.

Look at it this way. The Catholic faithful should count themselves lucky. At least, they don’t have to blow themselves up in some suicide mission. They just have to pay up.

Uhuh. Thoughts to ponder on.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the church can well afford to fund the project on its own. It doesn’t need government money, money that is better well spent on basic services or feeding, clothing and housing those children that roam the metro’s streets.

Better yet, the archdiocese should ring up Madrid. Spain was responsible for bringing the religion to our shores, it might as well foot the bill for its commemoration.


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