Opinion: Hello Homily Part Deux, also the Church again

Well the homily we heard during the 3 pm mass at Greenbelt Chapel certainly became more substantial last Sunday (though it was still very hard to pay attention, so I didn’t). 

Given that our country holds the most number of masses, we should be experiencing prosperity… 

60-70% [sic] of the country is Catholic, why then is there scarcity? 

Amen to that. 

And again: the Church.

On another note, our history lessons dealing with the Philippines’ rough and really illustrious past almost always contain references to the persisting immorality and abuses of the Catholic Church. Though our brilliant professor is Christian himself, he acknowledges the many points in our country’s history where the Church as an institution and as a banner created poverty, ignorance and death. These violations of human dignity include the threatening of the natives an afterlife in hell if they do not follow the colonizers, the appropriation of ancestral and communal lands by friars (from the moment they stepped onto Philippine soil until the time they were forcibly removed), the discrimination against native priests, the rape of women and nuns, the supposedly unholy siring of children, the opportunistic selling of useless and baseless religious trinkets, the selling of favors, blessings and forgiveness, the patronization and approval of hypocritical politicians, the corruption of the government and state, the indifference to pain and suffering, the murder of innocents and patriots, the inactive mediation between oppressors and oppressed, the willingness to leave the masses in ignorance and starvation…

This is the foundation of our Church. This is its history; one where friars wearing gold and popes fathering kings became the ancestors of priests hiding rapists, infidels and the corrupt. There is light in the Church: the donations, the beautiful churches, the structured support it provides. But these unchecked violations still persist at large, time and time again. This is what the Church is teaching the new generations: the lessons of ignorance, of blind belief, of naivete and implicit trust. I’ve heard of women and men who offer themselves –sexually or otherwise– to priests and lay men, families who left civilization and freedom in the mistaken hope for the dignity and exaltation they deserve. They do this because they were told to do so, because doing so would grant them the favor of the benevolent Church. What it brings to the table is a culture of idolatry, relics, stampeding parades, bribing and spoiling of priests, useless pilgrimages. They bring death, when thousands of people die during the feast of the Black Nazarene. They fester hypocrisy, when they set the example of acting kindly once and never again. They teach the value of power, not the abandonment of it, the need for money, and not the simplicity needed. It is when bishops receive gifts of thousand-peso cars and when the Church, blind to other needs and avenues, solicits for money from the already marginalized faithful that we are debased. It is when the Church persists that women and non-heteronormative sectors are inferior in the same breath they say that loving one another is the way to live that we are fooled and misled. We do not question, because we have never been told to question. There is no stopping an institution which has so strongly forced its authority and wisdom on more innocent people. 

And today, as our professor so aptly placed it, they are still blocking the way towards the realization of full rights and a better life. They are adamantly against the passing or movement of the RH bill, which seeks only to protect the country’s citizens by providing education, materials and services. It’s a choice which the dominant and consistently oppressive Catholic Church in the Philippines refuses to allow. They are against the rights of the LGBTQ// sector, the rights of women, of non-Catholic sectors. Even with their mere presence they obstruct the way, because the tide of the people go with them, knowingly or not. 

Imagine if we had a less perverted religion. I could have been Catholic then. 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Peng Garing says:

    This one made me think. Thanks for the post!

    I also questioned the Church. But not as strongly, as I suppose you do. I flirted with Hinduism – the Hari Krishna thing and also with Protestantism – sometime in my life. Not to mention a little bit of “popular” Marxism. Then, I honestly asked if I fit in. It is more of a spontaneous query followed by a spontaneous answer: “Not really.” That’s when I asked why I hated the Church in the first place. Who fed it to me? Not my family members certainly. Not my poor grandparents. They were poor and religious. But they were not stupid. And so this got me asking, that lead me to reading both local and European thinkers. To cut the story short, the popular biases against the Church in fact hides a deeper bias against the Filipinos! Anti-Church sentiments were propagated in Europe, and many of these Europeans have strong racist tendencies. And this trickled down to our Illustrados. I have always held, at least in my heart, that our ancestors were not stupid and foolish people. If they have accepted Catholicism, it was because they have seen and evaluated it for themselves. 300 years is such a long time and a lot of thing could happen. We might be looking only at a small portion of it, then use it to explain the whole. I think that is unfair to our ancestors.

    Have a nice day! :-)

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