China and the Catholic Church

Make no mistake. I like the Catholic Church. I think priests and nuns are among the best people on the planet. They work hard and heartfelt to ease the troubles of people with lots of them. I like the grand cathedrals and local churches, and the spiritual rites, which I can succumb to like a spiritual lamb being led to the altar. I like the people in the pews, friendly and honest of heart for this moment, at worship.
I like the Chinese, too, frankly. The relevance of the statement will become clear near the end of this article. Hang in there.
This is not a blog about atheism or religion. Or race. It is a blog about dots.
Poverty is a bastard, a bitch. It’s hard. It’s thankless. It takes away the dignity of man, the dignity that has us ever striving to improve our lot, to eat better, to dress cleaner, to find shelter against the typhoons. To be healthy. To be educated.
People can only take so much poverty. When they are pushed to desperation, they become more animal than man and take matters into their own hands. Ask the heirs of French aristocrats about that, if you can find any. They were cleaned out by the poor, erased, murdered.
Look at the Arab Spring. It was primarily about poverty, not religion.
Look at France where a socialist has been elected to the top job by a disgruntled electorate of unemployed and angry people. Or Greece where riots come a dime a dozen.
Look at the Philippines where the poorest of the poor live in hovels within distance of the classy glass high rise palaces. Have you been up by the docks, those stacks of buildings, three or four levels high, jammed with kids and trash and tattered laundry flapping in the breeze? It stinks there. It’s dangerous there.  Have you been to the countryside where houses are built of throw-away lumber and tin, the floor is dirt, and when it rains, the only place to go is 10 to a bed off the mud floor? Millions live that way. I won’t mention garbage heaps and the kids sifting through them for food. It is too much for me.
I’m drawing a stark picture here. You can’t run. You can’t hide. The poor are there. And there. And there. Ignored by most people most days. That is unacceptable.
How much more of this can the Philippines take, really?
I get nervous when I see Filipinos are marching in the streets demanding higher minimum pay. They are intense.
Could YOU live on P150 a day?
No. No. It is not possible to construct a decent kind of life onP150 a day. A life of healthy food and clean clothes and safe shelter and good health care and fine education that expands the mind and enriches the soul. No. You can only afford subsistence. Survival. The bare minimum.
Too many Filipinos live at the bottom of life’s desperation scale. 1.7 million new babies were born last year. Expect the same this year. And we are about to hit the wall. That place where “enough” is the rallying cry of the angry.
Why is it that the Catholic Church gets to sit there, big and bold an pious, and hold that it is in no way responsible for this?
Here are the dots:
  • Women
  • Catholic values
  • Over birthing
  • Gross Mismatch: Number of people and jobs
  • Poverty
  • Anger
  • Destruction
It is this notion of complete LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY that drives me nuts. The Church says It is the government that can’t generate a good economy. That’s why there is so much poverty.
Or it is the failure of man, the sins, the devil, that creates all the babies birthed when natural birth control is used. Catholic man and Catholic woman just can’t seem to get that monthly cycle right. Or do without.
I mean, if priests and nuns can do without, why not men and women?
Tell you what. I’ll let you deal with the devil and our manly and womanly drives. Don’t forget to address the choirboy matter.
I’ll take the economy.
A gentleman by the name of Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the U.S., visited the Asian Development Bank’s powwow in Manila last week. He has counseled popes and presidents.  BusinessWorldpublished Director Sachs’ views of the Philippines. He said:
  • “The Philippines of course is a very complicated country, very diverse; it’s an archipelago. It’s very crowded. The population has increased more than four times since 1950. The fertility rates remain quite high in this country, I think too high, actually, because most places that have really made the breakthrough — sustained economic growth, more social inclusion — had their fertility rates coming down voluntarily to the replacement level, two children per household.”
Notice a few key phrases: 
  • “sustained economic growth”
  • “more social inclusion”
  • “voluntarily”
  • “replacement level”
Kids at two per family are an investment in the future of the Philippines. Kids at three per family, like the Philippines, produce up to 50% more mouths than the Philippines can feed. The extra kids are a DRAIN on resources. The opposite of investment. They suck the productive life from the economy. Not for six years or 12 or 18. But for a lifetime. People get only P150 a day, more or less, because that way you spread the little wealth that is available across the broad poverty stricken masses. You try to pay millions of people P200 a day and you’d have to balance accounts by taking jobs away from millions of other people. They’d make zero pesos a day and riot in the streets. Businesses don’t have enough money to bail the nation out poverty. They pay what they can afford to pay.
Long term effort bails a nation out poverty.
Director Sachs went on to explain that “voluntarily” population slow-down  means through education, family planning and delayed marriages for girls, as an example. Then he talked about his specialty, the Earth’s finite resources:
  • We’re a very crowded planet. Rapid population growth in this era of environmental troubles creates big problems — lots of poverty, lots of marginalization, lots of environmental stress,. . .Resiliency [is] going to become more and more central because the climate is becoming more dangerous and more unsustainable. So, climate change from the point of view of the Philippines is not a small matter, it’s a very large matter.”
How resilient is the Philippines? Struggling to build enough schools. Struggling to grow enough rice. Struggling to get gasoline and electricity in at a reasonable cost. A hiccup of rice shortage leads to near panic, and massive hoarding for profits.
The Philippines has ZERO resilience. Zero margin for error. Huge calamities are waiting right around the corner. One storm. One earthquake. One uprising of people fed up with this.
Ahhh, but Director Sachs tells us there is reason to think our future has to be so wretched.
  • “On the positive side, it’s good to be in the dynamic part of the world. The North Atlantic right now is in crisis. It grows slowly, unemployment is high; whereas in the Philippines, the Asian developing countries are the fastest-growing region in the world … [A]ll the benefits of rapid technological improvement and lots of market opportunities, a lot of dynamism and shifts of production, [are] within this region. So, a country that really makes a determined effort to be competitive in Asia can have very big results.”
Well, damn, then. Lets harness that dynamism HERE in the Philippines. Let’s “make a determined effort to be competitive in Asia” Let’s stop being the needy orphan, the laggard of Asia that people love to sneer out. Let’s take charge.
First of all, here is what you do. You be blunt. You take the hammer to the glass wall that suppresses condemnation of the Church.  You don’t pussy foot around, delay, debate, hide, and hope. You act.
You put the Catholic values toward women side by side with China’s territorial irrationalism as the two most significant man-made threats to Philippine security.
It is dangerous when the Church takes political action to stop government from providing health education and family planning services to women. It is dangerous when birthing is out of control and resolutions can only come with desperate people taking desperate, destructive acts.
  • Keep China off Philippine islands. The Chinese are a great people, but they need visas to stay here.
  • Get Catholic values out of politics. Poverty is a health and security threat government needs to address.
The birthing load is too heavy for the nation and, unchecked, will eventually break its back.
I’ll ding President Aquino real hard on this if he continues to lollygag about the RH Bill and refuses to consider that efforts to reduce poverty MUST include a voluntary slowing of birth rate.  I trust he knows what “make a determined effort means“. I trust he understands that, in consciously failing to do determined acts, he fails in his responsibility to the nation.
20 Responses to “China and the Catholic Church”
  1. Thanks for the link. I read the article and it makes sense to me, the development of industries such as agribusiness, tourism and manufacturing to employ the huge base of largely unskilled unemployed, or under-employed. I return the following link to an article written by Doy Santos, who posts on Pro Pinoy: If it is too much data, at least skip down to the section on Demographics.

  2. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e (aka-"the cricket") rocking chair:A LIFE-BOAT CHOICE: (KISS PRINCIPAL) 1. ROW TOGETHER, SINK, SWIM, EAT, OR CULL THE OVER- FLOW….(thin the FLOCK- with a man made or natural disaster-war/pestilance/disease,etc…!) OR….just read on. 2. One solution to our overload (tipping point) crisis– a very simple "bibical solution" see section on Management (aka-stewardship)…which by the results (fruits) to date the government, church, educators and other so-called leaders have choosen to ignore! 3. Another creative solution is to "add more water…. a rising tide floats all boats!" The trick is to create jobs/employment by defining a wonderful, use- ful DREAM….VISION….PUTTING A TIME LIMIT ON IT FOR COMPLETION, GETTING IT SUPPORTED AND FINANCED! When anyone is trained/educated to accept one of the thousands of jobs to be created they must accept the ADMINISTRATIVE-MANAGEMENT-STEWARDSHIP SECTION OF THE BIBLE! NO EXCUSES, SEX ED, FAMILY PLANNING, LIMITATIONS TO POPULATION-FAMILY SIZE BY SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS/SEMINARS- PHYSICAL, MEDICAL OR OTHER POPULATION LIMITATION MEASURES. The solution is management, administration, leadership, stewardship….nothing else, nothing less will contributeto a resolution to our numerous island CRISIS….!

  3. Jim, keep that chair creaking, I opt for a combo of 2 and 3, or 1 is sure to follow.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Joe, awesome ang reviting read. The best portrayal of the true condition and state of the nation. I got a sledge-hammer and gone to the Church. I am familiar with the French revolution and that is worrisome when poverty finally drive them to rise. Its Jack

  5. Anonymous says:

    "But AB-Noy is only an average Filipino, and he doesn't have half the wit to make a determined effort to stay awake during his meetings." — my impression of a Get Realist, haha thank you, thank you. At a glance, what we're proposing here isn't easy. We can't just expect the Church and the people to begin to delineate after being intertwined for so long. But desperate times call for desperate measures. We're not there yet, but we might be soon. The President better get a move on. I really admire your bullish take on our country, though. I really feel the same way, there's just so much untapped potential just lying around, we have to use it one of these days.Ybañez-Anderson

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is a country where we have a senator that's proud of fathering dozens of spoiled, murderous brats and another that doesn't speak English and considers the language elitist.Does this country have a reset button of some kind? We could use one right now. -patrioticflip

  7. Jack, this is the "soft" version. It took me two days to calm it down. You know, toss the rant and leave the reflect, with a tad of zing.

  8. PF, reset button. ha. That is short of reboot, right? Maybe it just needs good anti-virus . . .

  9. From now on, you are simply "YA" for me, because my fingers run into themselves whilst trying to type your name. Or give me a favorite nickname.If I'm a priest, and I look around at all the kids living in dirty, unhealthy, starving poverty, and I look at a packet of condoms, I can pretty easily tell which is bad. I think thet church can take the active stance of being passive on the RH Bill and help the country a lot.

  10. Anonymous says:

    YA, What is this? Have you stayed too long in the Philippines where you become infected with the degrading Filipino name calling Diseases? We, Americans are trained to respect the Presidency even if one doesnt like the President. Ex-President GW Bush is a C average student, but nobody called him just an everage American. Its Jack

  11. Anonymous says:

    Darn, what did I miss from the hard core version? Did you know that The Commonwealth of Virginia had an old and relegious based law declaring Sunday as a family day where all business shops are prohibited to open, so that the family could stay together and go to church as well? That law was repelled according to popular demand sometime in the 80's using public opninions. The state conducted a referendum during election year. It wasnt easy, but they got it done after several referendums. Way of life in Virginia had changed driven by economic boom necessitated for change. Although the scenario in the Philippines is far more complex; opposite of the economic boom in Virginia, we need to change too. This President has to flex some real muscle to pass the RH Bill.What are you talking about Jack?You see, when I am upset, I tend to talk to myself. Anyway, I am talking about dealing with the church head-on. I would remind the Church of their tax-exempt status, so either they get inline or else…Would that work?I think what is going to work copy-cat the Virginia process. Referendum.Its Jack

  12. You missed non-constructive anger rather than finely honed and totally constructive criticism. I agree that the forces of rationality, whether through referendum or the President's determination to make a difference, need to move to the forefront. Keep talking to yourself . . . here . . .

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yeah thanks, I am getting better talking to myself. Delighted that I have missed those non-constructive anger because I dont want to talk to myself that soon, but not to worry I am impressed with the finely honed and constructive criticism you have written. Well done Joe. Its Jack

  14. Anonymous says:

    JoeAm, errrmm, how about Andy? I don't prefer just letters for a nickname for some reason. Yes, but i think the Church has a bit to lose from not taking any stance on the RH issue.. Especially when the masses(who conceivably has the most to gain from passage of said bill) follow their word, almost blindly.Jack, 8 years ain't really a lot, but growing up here gets frustrating sometimes, i hear that when i try to bring up a discussion about the Pres with my friends. I certainly respect the post; as long as you qualify, you can try it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey Andy, by any chance are you in Bicol region? You hangin' out too much with my homeboys. Joke bro. Its Jack

  16. Attila says:

    "The birthing load is too heavy for the nation and, unchecked, will eventually break its back."Joe,How will it break it? What will happen? Will there be riots? What will happen then? Will anything change? People believe in big families and providing food by the government will not slow down the population growth.

  17. Riots. Leading to some kind of socialistic hell.

  18. Attila says:

    If they turn their anger at the government and some kind of communist or socialistic organizations will influence and organize them than there will be a good chance that foreigners will be targeted and blamed also. It is so easy to turn the Filipino people anti American. They still have mixed feeling about Americans and their stupid pride will surely guide them to it. Add the communist propaganda of the capitalist as being the source of all evil and you got a combustible mix. If I ever decide to ,ove there I will have my Hungarian passport with me also and once I merry my Filipina I may get her the Hungarian citizenship just to be safe. I know how desperate people can think and how communist sympathizers can exploit it.

  19. Right. That's why I get nervous when I see strident leftists backing minimum wage protests. Ideology is easy to twist into anger.

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