CBCP goes NIMBY to interfere with Biliran’s thermal energy project

BiliranGeothermalDrill-3

Drilling Test Well for Thermal Project on Biliran Island [Source: biliranisland.com]

Please excuse me for going a bit Santiago on you. This article is mainly about a few political priests, not the Catholic Church, a good and important humanitarian institution in the Philippines.

However, if Church officials decide to “dish out” political acts, they should expect to be taken to task in that same political arena. Their robes form no cloaking shield of righteous integrity.

Do you want to know why the Philippines is poor? I’ll tell you why the Philippines is poor. The nation is poor because the Catholic Church too often operates on a surreal plane of idyllic disengagement from real-world consequences and too often mistakes complaint for solution.

While researching a different blog, I came across another stunning example of political meddling by the Catholic Church that would assure that residents of my home province, Biliran Island, are locked into agriculture as the primary source of revenue for a growing population, and locked into way too much abject poverty.

Fortunately, I think no one will listen to the political priests because they offer no solution to some very real problems the rest of the secular nation is facing.

This becomes another Catholic political initiative doomed to fail because it is out of touch with problem-solving in a world filled with real people, way too many of them hungry and broke and struggling to get along. And with global warming wrapping its dangerous clammy claws about our innocent homes and necks.

With all due respect to the many spiritually focused priests doing important, caring work across the land, these political priests of the Philippines (PPP) are becoming downright overbearing with their non-religious meddlings.

Definitions

CBCP: Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, an organization that serves as the political action committee for the Catholic Church of the Philippines. It’s charter is to advocate, influence, and skirt the very edges of truth to get RH laws defeated and, by opposing divorce, keep abused women in bondage to philandering husbands for eternity. It also sets the tone of political activism undertaken by local dioceses whose leaders evidently believe that, because they speak for God, they are qualified to speak for the entire Philippines on the pros and cons of local thermal energy projects. These priests are not elected but behave as if they were.

NIMBY: “Not In My Back Yard”. This means that offensive activities should be put in someone else’s neighborhood, not mine. It is best characterized by people who want cheap electricity but don’t want a nuclear power plant anywhere near them. When everyone becomes a NIMBY, then there is no clean power and we pollute the world with carbon emissions from existing dirty power plants and die from typhoon storm surges wiping out Tacloban.

Biliran: This is an island province south of Luzon, north of Leyte, west of Samar, and way too near to CBCP headquarters. The island has six mountains and is classified as one huge, multi-venting, active volcano. It last erupted in 1939, a little fizzle of smoke up the hill from Caibiran, an agriculture and fishing community on the east side of the island.

Thermal Energy Project: This is a joint project by Biliran Geothermal Incorporated (Philippines) and ORKA Energy (Iceland). The generation plant, in Caibiran, is likely to be built by Toshiba, and is expected to be the most modern in the world. The project will generate at least 49 megawatts of electricity. Biliran Province uses about 7 of that, which means 42 megawatts will be exported elsewhere in the Philippines. For real money. The plant will also provide real jobs.

The Beef of the Political Priests of the Philippines

Here’s what a priestly complaint letter to the Department of Energy said, in part, as the PPP asked DOE to kill the project:

  • “We are concerned of the imbalance the geothermal operation would bring to the ecosystem and also the consequences later of natural and man-made disasters and calamities, especially that if fully operational, the area of geothermal block would comprise approximately 260 square kilometers –more than a third of the whole island-province! . . . So, where would the people of Biliran province go, Mr. Secretary? What would happen to our upland rice and forests? What would happen to our natural resources and the beauty of the ‘paradise’ we are proud of?” 

Ahahahaha, OF COURSE the geothermal block is 260 square kilometers, you dolts. That is the size of the volcanic field that is powering the project. The footprint of the wells and generator is a few hectares of space.

Biliran is already chopped up indiscriminately by mankind with roads and buildings and coconut plantations all over the hills. And a lot of very poor people living where they ought not. This idea that it is a pristine wilderness is balderdash. Now I agree that it OUGHT to be preserved better than it is, but to kill a project that is in the best interest of the Philippines, and Biliran Island, out of fear of some blight upon the landscape is a little. . . . well, too late. Disingenuous I suppose is the big word to be used here.

The island will be put back into pristine condition the day that the PPP can convince God to stop blowing air at supersonic speed across the landscape and stop blasting water down the mountains in glorious cascades endlessly carving great gashes across the good earth and eroding a few houses along the way. God is not ecologically friendly at all. In fact, on some days, He is downright not PEOPLE friendly.

So we people have to figure out how to protect ourselves and no amount of complaint from His Manly Representatives on Earth, devoid of solution, is going to do that.

Point in fact, the thermal company does not own the island. The project will not ruin the rice fields. It is less intrusive than a big dam, it is less dangerous than a nuclear power plant, it does not pollute like coal-fired generators. It has so far given the greater Biliran community new roads, a new water reservoir for Caibiran, and a lot of good jobs, and in two years we will have cheaper, more reliable electricity and end our relentlessly backward programmed brownouts.

What, PPP, you’d prefer coal-fired plants in someone else’s community? Or you want your flock to use candles for light? Is that the way you figure Jesus would calculate it?

The upside potential for the plant is huge. OKRA recently announced that a test well showed it is “the hottest in the Philippines”. The upside is now pegged at 200 megawatts rather than the 49 cited in original specifications.

JoeAm’s Constructive Solution

For myself, I intend to draft a petition to advocate for secession of Biliran Island from the Philippines so that we can remove ourselves from the oppressive presence of cloaked men who presume to speak for all of us, in the name of God. We will become a separate state, or at least autonomous enough to toss interfering rabble onto the other side of the bridge that connects us to Leyte. The way I figure it, we can multiply the size of the thermal plant tenfold, put in a giant hydro dam high up on the mountain behind me for another 500 megawatts, and become a clean-energy sheikdom.

Not only that, but we will allow divorces and a casino. We’ll put them in the decrepit, despairing, poverty-wracked town of Biliran down the road from the main town of Naval. It can become our little Las Vegas, with Filipinos across the nation coming in to get a quickie divorce or quickie marriage, or hell, a quickie quickie.

What happens in Biliran stays in Biliran.

Down with backward values and uptight interference from political priests who bear no consequence from poverty, except a large captured congregation united in misery, and who offer absolutely no alternative solution to the big-picture problems of poverty, high electricity prices and global warming.

My constructive suggestion to the PPP: offer a better alternative that addresses the WHOLE of the problem, and not just your back yard, or retreat back to the pulpit and stick to healing thine oft-suffering flock.

 

Comments
62 Responses to “CBCP goes NIMBY to interfere with Biliran’s thermal energy project”
  1. andrew lim says:

    You mean “secession” , not “succession” in your solution.

    It’s my first time to read about this issue, so I reserve my comments later.

    “Fortunately, I think no one will listen to the political priests because they offer no solution to some very real problems the rest of the secular nation is facing.”

    Precisely why much of their advocacies are met with derision because they fail to offer workable solutions, except for the vacuous “create jobs” , “eradicate corruption”, etc.

    But I believe they come with good intentions; it’s just easier for them to take sides which require little critical thinking and study. After all, the “theologically narcissistic” and “self-referential” will always find themselves correct and free of errors.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahhhh my, these trifocals are acting up again. I’ll correct the mistake, thanks.

      And you got the spelling of “theologically narcissistic” and “self-referential” exactly right, including the fundamental absurdity of their application to solving big, complex problems..

      • Joe America says:

        And I suppose a key point in my argument, other than the specifics of the power plant, is that the political bishops cannot hold themselves immune to criticism if they put themselves into the secular argument.

        Another thought coming from this is more along the lines of “what kind of public review did the project go through?” that the priests felt they did not have a place in the dialogue? My guess is that the public due diligence was missing entirely or low key. In that case, the priests’ complaint should be that public due diligence is required for a major project in an island that COULD be pristine and attractive to tourists, and insist that the project be put on hold until it is done.

  2. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. In Corinthians Chapter 9, Paul speaks of his rights as an apostle. In Verse 16 he declaims, “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”

    1.1. It is upon the second sentence of this verse that the Roman Catholic Church hangs its flimsy claim to intervene in secular public affairs.

    1.2. In the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church”, we find this justification:

    Because of the public relevance of the Gospel and faith, because of the corrupting effects of injustice, that is, of sin, the Church cannot remain indifferent to social matters: “To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls.”

    1.3. Note the arrogance of the unconditional phrase “the right always and everywhere”. Moral principles? Hmm…

    1.4. Note that clause “including those pertaining to the social order”. Neat, huh?

    1.5. It is upon this simple clause of just seven words, that so many lives have been affected. Yes, perhaps some lives have been uplifted, but perhaps many more lives have been definitely damaged, ruined, and lost.

    1.6. It is upon this clause that Biliran and JoeAm will suffer intermittent power shortages. It is upon this clause that the nation will not be able to take advantage of nature’s gifts and progress to a higher quality of life.

    2. But the local problem arises from the global problem: the paradigm of “the salvation of souls” needs to be questioned and pondered.
    *****

    • Joe America says:

      re 1.3, it struck me suddenly that China is a religious institution, too.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        1. Yep, communism is a religion of a god that failed. Deng Xiao Ping improved some of the tenets. The NPAs still cling to those tenets.

        2. I just noticed a contradiction in the Compendium. It speaks on behalf of “the fundamental rights of the human person” but ignores those fundamental rights if it judges that intervention is required for “the salvation of souls”. That conjunction of “or” between “fundamental rights” and “salvation of souls” is a loophole through which any meddling can be justified. “Yes, we respect your rights but this is for your own good. So [do not use a condom / do not develop thermal energy / do not remarry unless we grant annulment / etc.] like a good boy/girl.”

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, re 2. That is a reflection in our basic limitations as humankind, I think, because the delineation of human rights tries to take our complex, interactive world, and put in a set of rules that leads us to harmonious living. Well, the Bible does the same thing. The difficulty is that human rights guidelines respond to new information and the Bible keeps on being the Bible. The last revision was when the New Testament was tacked on as a kind of “Bill of Kinder Living” to temper some of God’s Old Testament fury. So rather than saying, “God endowed us with a brain that can do science”, the tendency is to say “science is wrong if it conflicts with the Bible”. Therein is the eternal rub of religion against science, and the eternal rub of religion against religion. A denial of our human capacity in favor of old rules.

          • sonny says:

            Joe, the Catholic Church I know serves the truth as human nature and Christ presents it. (I am the Way, the Truth and the Light). As I understand, what the Bible is all about are the basic and essential truths regarding human nature and the revealed parts of these truths as enunciated by prophets of old and personified by Christ in the new. And that these do not change but rather must be interpreted and applied to succeeding generations and their particular milieu. Even Science serves the truth albeit limited to its physical laws. Put another way there is no contradiction between Science and the Catholic Religion.

            • Joe America says:

              I believe that, too, sonny. And as science works hard to clear up our manly misunderstandings about the earth being flat, and other mistakes or unknowns, through examination and testing and sailing around the world, the probing of our misunderstandings and unknowns about how we find the Way, the Truth and the Light, – or apply it if it is as simple as “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light” – given that our knowledge expands – it does not contract – is also an eternal puzzle. What I like about Pope Francis is that he is a puzzle solver, not a rule-maker. In fact, there are a lot of faithful about who relish what science can bring, and their faith becomes stronger for the discovery of how that faith wraps around all knowledge. They’d prefer that it not wrap around ignorance. I rather think you are of that category. I mention Jesus in my article, in my somewhat abrasive and taunting manner, because His teachings do guide us toward the best answers, and we ought to reflect on them.

            • sonny says:

              Erratum: My bad, everyone! This is the correct quote:
              “…I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6)

  3. andrew lim says:

    What worries me about the Church’s methodology in dealing with social issues and their recommendations is their utter lack of metrics.

    They never pause to evaluate how their ideas have worked or not, if their methods are effective or not; or whether they are using facts to back up their arguments.

    Apologists will be quick to point out that it’s not their role or mandate to do so. Then why participate in the conversation in the first place, if all you do is muck it up?

    Couple that with what I’ve mentioned about its self-referential mien and you have the recipe for irrelevance and derision.

    • sonny says:

      I agree about the metrics, Andrew, when reading apologists. Generally good metrics must accompany good argumentation. But as Church (I presume Catholic) methodology, encyclicals, apostolic letters, infallible statements, are axiomatic in nature when about faith & morals (includes social justice issues). Good Catholic apologists will give appropriate metrics and will and should tell you what is axiomatic.

      • andrew lim says:

        @sonny

        Thanks for the reply, very informative. No argument about axioms; these are belief-based and unquestioned for believers.

        My problem is when the Church goes into specific situations like this Biliran thing, or the difficult life situations that others describe elsewhere in this blog. In my view, the Church should have specific recommendations on what can be done instead of just issuing prohibitions, and general platitudes.

        For example, if I were on the Church’s side on the RH debate, I would have put the emphasis on the Church-approved natural family planning methods instead of emphasizing its opposition to the law alone. I would have harped on the current drive to go back to organic, natural, non-chemical, artisanal methods and turn away from medicines with harmful chemicals – this will appeal even to secularists.

        My sentiment in these situations is that the Church itself really doesnt know how to deal with a problem- it just says, ” dont do that” and stops there.

        Which brings me back to the use of metrics – in support of arguments – why this works or why this won’t.

        • sonny says:

          OMG, I did assume the NFP method came up during the RH debate, and the matter of dissemination was objected to. Here at the other side of the ocean, NFP is nixed in favor of the convenience of the pill and other contraceptive practices (in spite of known long-term and carcinogenic side effects). I must try to get on the same page. Help!

          • andrew lim says:

            Oh it did come up, but in the fog of war, these were mixed in the other messages. They were more treated as afterthought.

            What stood out more was “Dont do that, because we/the doctrine say so”.

  4. wjarko says:

    This reminds me of a debate I was a part of when I was in college. My team was in a position that had to defend Catholicism from the statement which puts blame on it for most of the underdevelopment happening around the world. We thought it would be synch, but boy were we wrong. Doing the research for the debate shook our really shook our faith in the church and the stance we had to take.
    We found that a large majority of former Spanish/Portuguese colonies and/or majority Catholic countries with strong presence from the Church have been left behind in socio-political-economic development, particularly the Philippines and most of South/Central America. These countries have also been political/socially unstable since gaining their independence from their colonial masters.
    A strong argument against our stand in the debate was that the Catholic Church espoused a form of fatalism, blaming hardship and problems on the will of God. The Church’s political power has only eroded since the Spanish time, but has never truly dissipated.
    Another strong dealt blow to our team in the debate was that most countries which didn’t have a strong Catholic church interfering in political and economic affairs fared better. The US, Protestant European countries, and Japan all fared better economically. Conservative catholic ideologies have at most times impeded socio-political-economic development of states as they are stuck in medieval mentalities.
    Some scholars have also blamed the fall of Rome and the rise European feudalism to increasing influence Catholicism and the Church during the period. Scientific and economic development was on the fast track during the Roman era Europe; then it stopped and regressed in the Dark Age, scientific development was practically on hiatus in Europe during the peak of the Church’s power. The Church, for the most part, has always been the enemy of science and development, history has proven this time and time again. But that doesn’t mean it can’t change, I believe these priests seeking to block whatever development we advocate are just misinformed, if not, they may have conflicting interest or just downright anti-development.
    We might just have to wait it out a little longer. We can choose to aid its natural decline or just let it wither and die on itself. Or we can try and educate it, as you have always advocated in the various comments and posts in this blog.
    As for me, I’ve already decided that I’ll wait it out. At its current pace the church’s influence will probably be confined to mostly undeveloped/underdeveloped areas of the country. Their numbers are dwindling at very rapid pace, and probably in a decade or two, most of the priest in the country will probably be foreigners.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting reading, wjarko. Thanks. I see considerable reason for optimism with Pope Francis and Archbishop Tagel who both are more into being good than being right, because goodness of heart and mind generally lead to what is truly right, whereas following strict rules of being right casts the Church as intolerant.

      You are right about Catholicism slowing social development, as we see the ardent Philippines fading to the last place on the planet recognizing that a marriage contract with no escape clause is sometimes one of those rules that actually treats people unkindly. Like if either spouse is abusive, a deadbeat, or adulterous. The Church here continues to use all the same arguments that other nations recognize simply don’t work because fidelity is not so easy to re-install after one spouse or the other has lost his way. So then we overlay the pains of being trapped onto the sins of being untrue. How much better that we at least be honest. And be free to live constructive lives on a new path.

      And the lack of contraceptives and health care for women . . . wow, how the Philippines penalizes kids who do not get proper nurturing because they are kid number 7 in the stack and are raised by an immature big brother or sister. So there is not enough physical nurturing for healthy bodies, and not enough emotional nurturing for healthy esteem. It seems to me the Church is not even aware of these punishments. Or blames them on government.

      The failure to accept accountability drives me nuts . . . and thus, this blog.

      I think patience is a very good approach. The Catholic Church has a choice to make, and irrelevance is one of the options.

      By the way, I always get a lot from the spirituality of a church service, the bonding, the belief in good that comes with belief in God, the many rich lessons found in the Bible, the ease brought on by the commonality of joy and even suffering. It tends to focus one’s own spirit and mind better and provides motivation and discipline to dealing with our trouble-strewn world. I think I belong to every church, but am a member of none. I don’t like narrow rules that deny our knowledge.

    • sonny says:

      “… Doing the research for the debate shook our really shook our faith in the church and the stance we had to take.”
      **My experience has been, so far where there are apparent anomalies involving RCC teachings, practices and secular analyses, most if not all can be sorted out into fallacies of argumentation, or incomplete research or polemic manipulation.

      “…We found that a large majority of former Spanish/Portuguese colonies and/or majority Catholic countries with strong presence from the Church have been left behind in socio-political-economic development, particularly the Philippines and most of South/Central America. These countries have also been political/socially unstable since gaining their independence from their colonial masters.”
      **Spain and Portugal, in the times of colonization, were engaged in an extensive drive of mercantilism in Africa and the New World. Typically, a Spanish or Portuguese ship consisted of agents of the crown of each country accompanied by mariners (w/expectations of adventure & booty) and one or two Catholic missionaries (w/evangelizing intent). Even with present-day motivations one can do the Math as to the results and dynamics of such a mix. From those lands with precious minerals, extraction and repatriation went back to the respective crowns while converted souls were left to the missionaries to educate (to manipulate, in the minds of others). This is just one frame of many, many more being played up up to the present, a complex one for sure.

      “… A strong argument against our stand in the debate was that the Catholic Church espoused a form of fatalism, blaming hardship and problems on the will of God. The Church’s political power has only eroded since the Spanish time, but has never truly dissipated…”
      **In my opinion, the Church’s political power should stay in the Philippines until the majority of Filipinos have been well exposed to the Church’s teachings and to the point where or when the Filipino can think for him/herself and make his/her decision as to what is ultimately good for his/her wellbeing. Spain and Portugal have made this decision. Argentina, Brazil, the Central American states as well as Uruguay, Paraguay are in the throes of struggle over this decision. African countries are now the bloody Christian mission lands. This is the future.

      (Note: I apologize for foisting this quote, since it may or may not touch on the subject at hand. My justification is the principle of serendipity. I hope, just like the 3 princes of Serendip, that reading the quote below will tickle the reader’s curiosity and find the corners of the Catholic Church that has more light than the darkness of rancor towards her)

      I don’t know what the word “conservative” means, if we are talking about the teachings of Jesus and of the Church. That’s because those teachings transcend politics, and are always going to be a scandal, no matter what culture encounters them.

      For example, there was a time when “honor” was the principle that ordered a man’s life, if he was a soldier or an aristocrat in Spain or France or even early America. Men whose “honor” had been impeached would challenge the supposed offender to a duel. Andrew Jackson fought twenty or so of these duels. They were “consensual,” because you couldn’t force somebody to accept the challenge, but the Church condemned them in no uncertain terms, equating them with murder. For that condemnation, she was accused of having no regard for honor, of not understanding genuine manhood, and of meddling in affairs that were not her business.

      I’m not equating the Sexual Revolution with that culture of “honor,” but rather noting the principle that the Church is always going to offend. The Germanic tribes who heard the gospel heard what for them was quite baffling, that they were not supposed to take revenge—their whole culture was based upon loyalty to the clan and blood feuds. The Romans who heard the gospel heard what for them what was quite baffling, that they were not supposed to expose their infant children, or do a whole lot of other things that Roman aristocrats had gotten in the habit of doing, without thinking themselves any the worse for them. Socialists in the nineteenth century were scandalized by the Church’s insistence that the family, and not the State, is primary. Money-worshipers among us are scandalized by the Church’s teaching that, although your wealth is your own, it is meant for others, for the common good. Native men in Africa and in the South Seas were astonished to hear that they could have only one wife.

      It’s always something, and for us now, the something is sex. That’s embarrassing; I wish it were something more “admirable,” but it is what it is.

      Remember what Jesus says to the people who ask him about divorce. Those people include his own closest disciples. They ask him, essentially, “Under what conditions may a man divorce his wife?” Or, to translate it literally, “When may a man put away his woman?”—because in both Hebrew and Greek, there is no special word for “wife” or “husband.” It’s the same in German today: a woman’s husband is her “man,” and a man’s wife is his “woman.” Now, they are expecting Jesus to raise the bar, as he always did. They thought he would side with the more severe of the two points of view that were current, and they thought he would refer to Moses, the Lawgiver, as an authority.

      But Jesus shocks them. He baffles even his disciples. He does not bring in Moses as an authority. Moses allowed divorce, he says, “because of the hardness of your hearts,” but “in the beginning, it was not so.” When he says, “In the beginning,” he is referring to the creative intention of God himself, expressed in the order of creation before the Fall. In the beginning, he says, and the words mean “at the foundation of things,” and not just “at the start,” God made them male and female, “and for this reason a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves unto his wife, and they two become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.” That change, from two to one flesh, does not depend upon the feelings of the people, or upon their intentions. It can’t be, because no human being has the power to sever that one flesh. Jesus says this quite clearly.

      He is not talking about “porneia,” or fornication, which is clearly wrong, and not a part of the controversy at hand. Nobody listening to him believed that fornication was all right, least of all Jesus, who said that if a man but looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has already committed adultery with her, or who said that it’s not the things that enter a man that make him unclean, but rather (and think here of the daily needs of the body, that made a Jew ritually unclean, and required washing) the things that come out of him, including lewdness and licentiousness. Everybody agreed about that. What shocks them is that Jesus broadens the scope of the condemnation against adultery. Or, I should say, adultery is what it always was, but even the faithful Jews did not know what it was, and how long they had accepted as a matter of course things that were adulterous. Jesus says that a man who puts away his woman and takes another commits adultery, and the same for the woman. And “therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” The “man” in that sentence includes Moses! He was the great lawgiver; yet not even Moses had the authority or the power to separate what God had joined.

      This teaching is clear. For a long time it baffled people—the Romans, the Greeks, even the Jews. Then for many centuries it did not baffle people, not even those Protestant groups that allowed for divorce, since as late as 1900 divorce was still very rare; I have found both Catholic and Protestant Americans at that time crying out against it, because it had dissolved as many as one in ten marriages. Well, now it baffles people all over again, along with the other teachings regarding sex, even the ones that have never baffled anybody.

      The Church can’t win a popularity contest. She never will. In one age she is accused of being effeminate for loving peace and condemning war. In another age she is accused of being warlike. In one age she is accused of being too indulgent towards sins of the flesh. In another age she is accused of being puritanical. In one age she’s said to have her head in the clouds because she instills a suspicion of material wealth. In another age she’s accused of being the tool of the rich. It is always something.

      I came to this realization many years ago, and it scandalized me too, and forced me to make a decision. I decided I would trust the Church. Another way to put it is this. Jesus demands not most of me, but all of me. If I obey him only in those things that don’t cost me much, what good is it? I can’t say to him or to his Church, “You can have all of me except for my bank account,” or “except for my pistol,” or “except for my lips and tongue,” or “except for these inches down below.” That is to set up another god in place of him. It makes no sense.

      The Church’s teachings liberate. I’ve experienced it. The habits of the Sexual Revolution enslave, and bring in their wake a great deal of human misery, and even blood. That may make people unhappy to hear, but it is a fact. To be Catholic now is to be something that the important and clever people outside of the Church will despise. On Good Friday we memorialize what the important and clever people did to Our Lord. Let’s not join them.
      — Anthony Esolen (writing in Crisis Magazine)

      Another strong dealt blow to our team in the debate was that most countries which didn’t have a strong Catholic church interfering in political and economic affairs fared better. The US, Protestant European countries, and Japan all fared better economically…”
      (To be addressed)

      • Joe America says:

        Thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking piece, sonny. I’ll be interested in wjarko’s readout. A lot of food for thought. The part I found most enlightening was the discussion of honor, which indeed fits the realization I have been developing that we each carry about our own “scene”, or how we observe right and wrong, and for almost all of us, it is invariably wrong. We are all “flat earthers” in some of our ideas, because we simply don’t know all the details. But we hold to our views through thick and thin, defending them to the death . . . ala Jackson. (What was his weapon of choice, I wonder, given that he survived so many of the duels).

        As for Jesus and divorce, I try to imagine what his setting was like, there on the West Bank amongst all the rocks and olive trees. How did people live? Who enforced the “family code”? The church? Who were the scientists? The sociologists of the day? Was Jesus a sociologist? What were their beds like? Their food? Bread not rice, I suppose, and a lot of goat meat and cheese. What did the prostitute think about divorce? Did she sleep with married men? How many prostitutes were there in those days? Was there a red light district? The rooms were small, the ceilings low, from what I recall from crawling around the historical buildings of Bethlehem. Claustrophobic and dark.

        What would Jesus say if a study were brought to Him that showed how many deadbeat dads there are in the Philippines, who father a child and then skip town, sometimes before the child is even born. They put the baby in the past, out of sight, out of mind. What is the mother to think? What is the baby to do? Does the mother not have a right to life, not just to breathe, but to live happily with another man? Or the wives beaten black and blue, and beaten again if they protest. Would Jesus respect the scientific knowledge if it showed that abuses are common? I think He would. Half the “one flesh” is black and blue. That cannot be acceptable. I think Jesus was a humanitarian, and flexible to circumstance. All the rest is manmade rules, often put together by men who sought power, or to keep the power they have. “No woman should have the right to humiliate a powerful man by wanting out of a black and blue marriage.” And thus the courts of the day, the church, made it so . . .

        • sonny says:

          All good questions, Joe. I cannot minimize your queries.

          Let me just take a short stab at the question of abusive marriages. The Church offers annulment as relief. The realities of abusive marriages will not allow easy solutions, divorce included. The civil government also opts for annulment.

          • Joe America says:

            Annulment would be acceptable except the requirements here are rather impossible to fulfill unless one has the wherewithal or sinfulness to grease the judicial skids a bit, then the evidence seems less onerous, and one can get it processed like buying ice cream. But most cannot afford the court filing fee, much less the psychiatrist and experts who will testify as to the spouse’s lunacy. The case I am familiar with: P20,000 filing fee, P20,000 appeal fee, 7 hearings, psychologist testimony, witness testifying the spouse had a girl friend outside the marriage and a child with that girlfriend, testimony that he was abusive, testimony that he did drugs . . . annulment petition denied. Somewhere between the Bible and the process, kindness and logic got lost in the name of greed or authoritarianism or class bias. Or religion.

            • sonny says:

              Yes, Joe. The civil annulment process is onerous. Sadly the church annulment does not count legally. I hope the church annulment is not also burdensome.

      • andrew lim says:

        @sonny

        If you will indulge me on your point on Spanish colonization:

        Does this imply that Church authorities back then made a calculus that the cause of evangelization was so great it would justify riding on the backs of colonization? That saving souls/conversion would justify subjugation of indigenous cultures and exploitation of their natural resources?

        Does this imply that Church missionaries back then were mere accidental participants in the colonization of the Phiilippines?

        In my view, they were enablers of imperialism, and willing and active participants because they had so much to gain – and not just in terms of souls saved. The Spanish government and the Catholic church back then were ” riding in tandem” to use a current term. 🙂

        • sonny says:

          The cause for evangelization was couched this way, (in my opinion): The Church and the Spanish Crown “rode in tandem” to bring the Gospel to foreign lands. The resources of the Crown were intended to secure the free preaching of the Good News in the face of unknown peoples and tribes. This was the evangelizing paradigm in Central and South America. Contrast this to the French way of evangelization where French missionaries were individually imbedded into whichever mode of travel that could be had in the New World (viz the trappers of the Louisiana territory). I would also point to the French missionary explorers among the Indians of North America (Pere Marquette, Hennepin, Goupil & martyred Jesuit companions).

          The colonization/evangelization of the Philippine islands came under the aegis of the Spanish in Mexico. The Governor of the islands and bishops of Manila, Cebu, the Ilocos and Bicol regions all reported to the Crown and Church and ideally operated church and state affairs under this twofold oversight. An example of the devolution from this ideal: Agents of the Spanish Crown were given land grants, e.g. haciendas, estancias to administer, nurture and make productive. The bonanzas lay in minerals (gold, silver). Husbanded lands, i.e. agriculture, were less desirable. In the Philippines, these were the majority. And given the oppressiveness of the tropics, these haciendas became extremely undesirable and were thusly abandoned. The Church (the missionaries) was left to care for both the material and spiritual affairs of the Indio. The agents of the Spanish Crown who were left created the enclave of Intramuros and because of the discovery of East-West winds, the Galleon Trade was created. This lucrative trade rode on the backs of Filipino, Chinese and Mexican labor. The Spanish missionaries continued their assigned dual oversight to the rest of the islands where the slow process of Christian nurture played out. The Philippines was on the expense side of the Royal ledger, some historians say.

          • Joseph-Ivo says:

            Sounds like “decent working black slaves were better off than dole receiving blacks today”. There is more than economics. People compared what friars told with what they did. Of course friars had mighty gods, magic and an army on their side. 400 years and most Filipinos still believe in the old ghosts and gods, they only gave them Christian names, so do not overestimate the missionary skills of the friars.

            • sonny says:

              Jos-Ivo, from my readings both missionary and native community were pretty much left to themselves. Depending on which order the missionary belonged to, the friars fanned out through the different language settlements. The friars were carriers of both Christian theology and material technology of Spain. The real world of survival and evangelization were the day to day agenda of friar and native. Just imagine their world and I think the Christian names were the most nominal of their agenda. I guess more a mix of mundane and symbiotic dynamic was the order of the day. In sheer numbers on average the ratio was 1 friar: 4000 natives from 1565 through 1898.

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        The church. When will they understand the effects of a priest checking in my shorts as a boy if I did wear decent underwear? Fighting with my mam because some of my briefs where not very tight around my legs (to the delight of the priest?). This priest had much more influence than the one on the cancel reading the most holy verses. We are impressed with their walk, not their talk. Confessions too were so focused on the negative, with preference on accounts of masturbation. So unfair, all the good was because of God, never taking responsibility for anything bad. If He was that powerful why did he let the devil do all those things that felt so good? What is holy in religion (all you cannot achieve?), what is human (all you can achieve?).

        Separation (or separation + lies by the couple, psychologist, lawyer, prosecutor and judge = annulment). Not all of us are saints, should we be punished by civil society already or is purgatory the right place for penance? The focus should be on the children, loving parents together the optimum, vicious fighting parents together the worst, happy but separated parents somewhere in between, a judge to decide what the maximum achievable on this scale is. Peace is the optimum, a vicious war the worst, a justified war somewhere in between, is that why the church blesses arms and soldiers? Why not blessing good lawyers that help couples to separate in a fair way for the children’s sake? Separation as war is not a feast for most of us.

      • wjarko says:

        **My experience has been, so far where there are apparent anomalies involving RCC teachings, practices and secular analyses, most if not all can be sorted out into fallacies of argumentation, or incomplete research or polemic manipulation.

        For the most part, the debate was for a sociology class so we focused on facts and figures, leading indicators for social phenomena. It think it would be hard to argue morals and church teachings versus statistics, they just dont add up.

        “Spain and Portugal, in the times of colonization, were engaged in an extensive drive of mercantilism in Africa and the New World.”

        So was Great Britain, France, and Netherlands at that time, but somehow their (some/most) colonies faired better than Spanish/Portuguese.

        “In my opinion, the Church’s political power should stay in the Philippines until the majority of Filipinos have been well exposed to the Church’s teachings and to the point where or when the Filipino can think for him/herself and make his/her decision as to what is ultimately good for his/her well-being.”

        In my opinion, teaching on morality and values should not be confined to a single institution, especially the Church, but should be free from any institution. Doing so opens these subjects to constructive discussion and debate. That’s how it developed my own sense of morality and value system in the university, and I feel that it really opened my mind.

        Also, I strongly believe that people should be informed, keep and open mind to make good choices for them selves. The Church has its own moral/value system that for me is quite rigid; thus, the notion of infalibility. This is why I dont believe the church can objective in discussion of moral issues like divorce an contraceptives.

        On the issue of marriage and divorce; I believe we should provide people with the choice. This is the main point of development, providing people choices and not making it for them, provided that it does not steps on others liberty, rights, and happiness. The Church’s opposition to divorce is like deciding for the women to stay and endure the hardship. Those who believe in the sanctity of marriage have their minds in Utopia, or an ideal world where all people uphold the same values and morals. Im sorry to disappoint them, but the truth is the world is not perfect and providing better choices makes it a little less imperfect.

        • sonny says:

          Thank you for this opportunity, Wjarko.

          “For the most part, the debate was for a sociology class so we focused on facts and figures, leading indicators for social phenomena. It think it would be hard to argue morals and church teachings versus statistics, they just dont add up.”

          In these discussions, the social teachings of the Church are axiomatic in some cases and debatable in other cases. Reasonable tests for validity and applicability should be the order of the day. Church teachings are not inscrutable nor intractable. So intelligent minds can always come together.

          “So was Great Britain, France, and Netherlands at that time, but somehow their (some/most) colonies faired better than Spanish/Portuguese.”

          And so our socio-economic lot rode on the Spanish, just as Brazil on the Portuguese, North America on France and Great Britain. We must thus examine and analyze the Hispano-Philippine historical connections. An unfinished landscape for sure.

          “In my opinion, teaching on morality and values should not be confined to a single institution, especially the Church, but should be free from any institution. Doing so opens these subjects to constructive discussion and debate. That’s how it developed my own sense of morality and value system in the university, and I feel that it really opened my mind.”

          Our Scripture commands us to render to God the things that are God’s and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. This sounds like a good and reasonable place to hang our collective hats on.

          “The Church has its own moral/value system that for me is quite rigid; thus, the notion of infallibility.”

          Infallibility has been used by the Church in very discreet places and times. And has been in the area of faith.

          “This is why I dont believe the church can objective in discussion of moral issues like divorce an contraceptives.”

          Divorce and contraceptives are not independent of scientific scrutiny and measurement and evaluation. The Church has not failed in making arguments that are scientific and sound.

          “On the issue of marriage and divorce; I believe we should provide people with the choice. This is the main point of development, providing people choices and not making it for them, provided that it does not steps on others liberty, rights, and happiness. The Church’s opposition to divorce is like deciding for the women to stay and endure the hardship. Those who believe in the sanctity of marriage have their minds in Utopia, or an ideal world where all people uphold the same values and morals. Im sorry to disappoint them, but the truth is the world is not perfect and providing better choices makes it a little less imperfect.”

          I suggest that Church members who have difficulties in these areas take advantage of the reliefs provided by the Church. They will be pleasantly surprised, I feel.

  5. Joseph-Ivo says:

    What the church still does not understand is that people watch your feet, not your lips. People have an intuitive feeling too that God is of another nature. How can an insect speak to us? How can we speak a “godly” language if we are just a human beings? Isn’t the marvel of Jesus being human? Wasn’t his message that you can worship God by serving your neighbor? This horizontal component was the new message in the New Testament, this caring for others is what He repeats again and again until His self-sacrifice.

    PPP what did you DO (not what did you say) to help ME? Do you have any idea how you could help me with actions, not words? Heal my family, multiply my breads, wine for the next party, get commerce out of my place of worship… do you need more hints? One sister caring silently in a hospital can teach me more than 100 bishops in 100 SUV’s. (By the way, did you see the new pope? Watch his feet and watch the feet he washed)

    Geothermal plants? PPP first talk to your colleagues in Valencia (Negros Oriental) about the 20 MW plant. The size is 3 to 4 soccer fields, looks clean except for some steam. Basic electricity is free in Valencia, I did never hear my colleagues living there complain. But do not mix your conversation with the local availability of condoms, which is another issue.

    • Joe America says:

      “One sister caring silently in a hospital can teach me more than 100 bishops in 100 SUV’s.”

      Powerful.

      Thanks for the example of Valencia.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      1. The difficulty is that the “horizontal component” – love thy neighbor – is only the second greatest commandment. The “vertical component” – love God – is the first greatest commandment. And in obeying the first commandment, priests and believers disregard and disobey the second commandment.

      2. What is worse is that fanatics (of all religions) identify their particular religious organization to be representative of the first commandment. They mistake the church for God. This is the deliberate brainwashing conducted by all religions, including communism and Scientology.
      2.1. Thus man becomes the tool rather than the end as expressed in the second greatest commandment.

      3. One solution is to reverse the commandments. Another is to reinterpret the meaning of the first.
      *****

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        Wasn’t the innovation of Christ that he defined the second way as the best way to fill in the first? By serving your neighbor you can best serve God. Humans express yourself as humans don’t try to be “godish”.

        Feels as if I’m thrown back in the 60ies fighting a lost fight. Our human haughtiness of trying to talk and behave “godish “ is too strong, living in the Vatican still has more appeal than living in the slums… Eye of a needle…

        Reality is model dependent. In the mean time my reality is based on a set of simpler basic laws, explaining the past better (until the quantum uncertainty at the very small beginning at time zero), predicting the future better, no more need for miracles (events that do not conform the laws). And effective theories to describe macro events until we get better understanding of the underlying mechanism.

        Long live the geothermal plant in Biliran.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          1. There may be some truth to that. In the Old Testament, there are references to the New Covenant which is interpreted as “a new relationship between God and humans mediated by Jesus which necessarily includes all people upon sincere declaration that one believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and God.”
          1.1. There is the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy, [44] But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
          1.2. And there is 1 Corinthians 13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” But this is Paul speaking.

          2. However, none of the above negates the two greatest commandments as given in Matthew 22:35-40, and the primacy of the first Great Commandment. Indeed, the passage in the Sermon on the Mount supports this: love your neighbor… that you may be children of God.
          *****

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            2. It’s a matter of emphasis, I guess.
            2.1. Loving your neighbor is one way of serving God, it may be the best way, but it is not the primary way.
            2.2. The centrality of the belief in Jesus is the primary way. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
            2.3. Thus, one may live a life of absolute dissolution, not minding your neighbors, but one will still attain salvation as long as one believes.
            2.4. So love God through Jesus.
            *****

      • sonny says:

        Re: 1. The two commandments subsume each other, in my understanding. If this is not true in the application, e.g. in the PPP vs geothermal proposal, then further sorting & clarification must be exercised until the issue is reasonably defined. This is not clear to me.
        Re: 2. Do these PPPs fit? I don’t know. This may be answered by the above exercise.
        Re: 3.
        1st: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
        2nd: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Sonny,

          Thanks.

          1. The two commandments do NOT subsume each other. There is a clear sequence, a clear priority, and a clear hierarchy.
          1.1. The priority is made clear when one considers the centrality of Jesus (items 2.1 – 2.4 above).
          1.2. The priority is also made clear when one considers a conflict arising between the love for God and the love for the neighbor. For example, if a neighbor leads one into temptation, do you follow the neighbor or do you follow God?
          1.3. With respect to the geothermal proposal, the issue of the separation of church and state is a very complex one stretching over many centuries, but the arc of history is towards secularism. In other countries, the Church is not as interventionist as it is in the Philippines. The Church should respect this separation.

          2. Yes, the PPPs fit. Francis thinks so with his self-referential criticism. Indeed, many, if not most, Catholics identify with the messenger (church) rather than with the message (Jesus).
          2.1. In 1966, Father Bulatao famously wrote about split-level Christianity.
          2.2. Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence elaborates: “Many Filipinos are what I call Sunday-religious, that is they go to church every Sunday, take in confession and communion, but the rest of the week they bribe and do corrupt deeds…”
          2.3. The level of corruption in government – in a nation claiming to be the most Christian nation in Asia and composed of a majority of Catholics – shows that the message is not being observed.

          3. I said, “Another is to reinterpret the meaning of the first.” How?
          3.1. You have suggested one re-interpretation: subsumption. This is to see the face of Jesus in the face of the neighbor. Here the vertical dimension collapses into the horizontal dimension. This is within Christianity.
          3.2. Another is universalization (or exteriorization). Hint: think Spinoza or Einstein. This is outside of Christianity.
          3.3. Another is interiorization. Hint: think buddha-nature. This, too, is outside of Christianity. In this and in 3.2, there is no vertical or horizontal dimension. God is multi-dimensional. No, that’s not correct. God is non-dimensional, beyond dimensions; God (or buddha-nature) permeates everything.
          3.4. And another still is to disregard the first greatest commandment as atheists and agnostics have.
          3.5. There may be other re-interpretations.

          Sonny, I suggest you take things slowly. You have chosen a path of faith that works for you. Stick to it. If truth be known, we are happy for you, and not a little envious of you.

          Clearly, there are many paths beside the path of faith you have chosen. Clearly, no amount of reasoning can totally explain or justify one path, in particular, one of faith. Clearly, also, we have to apply a measure of reasoning against a certain path if we think it poses an obstacle to our own individual path or to our common group path. What is not clear and what is difficult… is that each of us must open-mindedly evaluate the validity of that “measure of reasoning” cast against our path, and accept or reject the measure in a mature way. Just be aware that there are many paths of faith and non-faith, each with its own validity, each with its own pitfalls. Most importantly, no path is perfect; neither perfectly paved nor perfectly trodden. Within one path alone, there are many byways. Each man will consciously choose – or unconsciously default to – the path nearest his heart.
          *****

          • sonny says:

            Edgar, just returning the favor. Thank you, too. Have a good one, friend. My path beckons.

          • sonny says:

            Re 1: Sorry, Edgar. I stand by what I said. (the hierarchy you speak of are just logical constructs) There is only one concrete reality to examine each time. re 1.2: you’re giving a false a conflict 1.3 from my perspective what you call interventionist is merely a desire of the Church to be included in the conversation. I hope we are thinking of the same events.

            Re 2.1 & 2.2 & 2.3: Split-level behavior is a developmental issue. Unattended to, it becomes a cultural anomaly. It is not a Filipino Christianity thing only. It is across the board for humanity with both humorous and painful results.

            Re 3.2: Next time I go to the Manila, I’ll consult with Fr Roque Ferriols, SJ on Spinoza. Reading him and Kant always gives me a headache; I’m sure Fr Francis Glover, SJ will give me a line on Einstein. I don’t have enough Math to navigate him. Re 3.3: Buddha is a nihilist and pantheism is not my bag. (hint: think Thomas Merton and William Wordsworth) Re 3.4: I am not ready to be an agnostic and atheism is logically untenable, for me)

            Re 3.5: As to another interpretation, I’m looking into angels and jinns.

            As to looking at other paths, I am now on the clock, so thanks for the reminder

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              1. You are entirely within your rights to believe what you believe. But your interpretation is not supported by logic or by Scripture itself. I have backed up my observation with three points at least. As I pointed out in item 3.1, yours is a reinterpretation. Logic lesson: One cannot dismiss a proposition by saying it is “just a logical construct”. We are using reasoning here. So when one makes such a dismissal, one is in fact admitting to the validity of the proposition because the “logical construct” is based on and consistent with an underlying reality. What one has to do is to show that it is an illogical construct and inconsistent with an underlying reality.

              1.2. How can it be a false conflict? That’s just one example. The conflict is not only between God and neighbor; it can also be between God/church and conscience, such as in the matter of the use of contraception. Logic lesson: When one makes a claim that something is false, it is not enough to declare it so. One has to prove it.

              1.3. Sorry, I am not thinking of specific events. As a general rule, the Church should butt out. I am not saying that the Church cannot express an opinion. I am saying she should refrain from expressing one. She should suppress her desire to be included in the conversation and devote herself to her spiritual tasks in which she is failing. She has more than enough to do there. I am not denying the role religion has played in the development of mankind, but religion is now a hindrance to development. It may be true when you say man were baffled by the insights of religion, but now it is religion that is baffled by the flowering of consciousness. Religion in the West no longer has the monopoly on truth, and lost at ever since the Age of Enlightenment. The central issue here is between a particular faith and secular freedom, and that particular faith should respect and no longer interfere or impose itself upon that freedom. Logic lesson: Have some fellow-feeling, some empathy, and reject the fallacies of ad populum and ad verecundiam: imagine how you would feel if Islam became the predominant religion and started to inflict itself upon your life.

              2. Agree. It is not a uniquely Filipino phenomenon. But one should not dismiss it. Logic lesson: This does not invalidate the truth of the issue.

              3. From my view, the entire approach of man to organized religion is a measure of individual weakness in that one depends on external authority. Admittedly, not everyone has the strength of mind to examine his life, but one should make the effort. Again, I am not saying that one should not listen to or consult with voices of authority, such as teachers or gurus. The voices of authority themselves must be genuine, and one must try to canvass opposing viewpoints. After all is said and done, one must listen to the voice of conscience and decide on one’s own as to what is true or not. If one takes on faith some truth/bias based on authority, one is still responsible for the consequences.
              3.2. One does not need math to understand Einstein as a homo religiosus. Both he and Spinoza were deists, not theists.
              3.3. Nihilism has two meanings: one is the advocacy of destruction and the other is the rejection of delusion. Buddha is a nihilist in the second sense, and he is a beautiful one. Total negation is a valid path because after negating all that is false one is left with what is true; the antonym of delusion is truth. It is Occam’s Razor in action.
              3.3 – 3.5. As to pantheism, agnosticism and atheism, as I say we all vibrate at and to different frequencies. We choose our own paths and all are valid – although some are more valid than others. By what criterion? Refer to item 2 on my April 28, 2014 at 6:50 am post below.

              The world is a mess because we, as individuals and as institutions, are a mess. If (a) we strive to arrive at truth in our own way with all heart, mind, soul and strength; and (b) we share whatever truths we have found with each other, sharing but not imposing, striving to arrive at a consensus if possible, and being respectful if not possible, then (c) the world will be a better place.

              Note: (a) and (b) are my reinterpretations of the two greatest commandments.
              *****

              • sonny says:

                Edgar, I prefer the tag “clarification” if you need to tag. “logic lesson” has a little edge to it. (You are the teacher and i am the pupil). Not to worry, it’s just a distraction. And maybe it is just me.

                I will capitalize my reply just to differentiate (it’s for my benefit).

                1. You are entirely within your rights to believe what you believe. But your interpretation is not supported by logic or by Scripture itself. I have backed up my observation three points at least. THE CLAUSE AFTER IS AN EXPLANATION WHY I SAY “LOGICAL CONSTRUCTS” I SEE ONLY THE REALITY I.E. THE CHARITABLE ACT OF A BELIEVER WHOSE OBJECT IS ALWAYS GOD AND NEIGHBOR, BOUND IN TIME AND SPACE.
                As I pointed out in item 3.1, yours is a reinterpretation. Logic lesson: One cannot dismiss a proposition by saying it is “just a logical construct”. We are using reasoning here. So when one makes such a dismissal, one is in fact admitting to the validity of the proposition because the “logical construct” is based on and consistent with an underlying reality. What one has to do is to show that it is an illogical construct and inconsistent with an underlying reality.

                1.2. How can it be a false conflict? That’s just one example. The conflict is not only between God and neighbor; it can also be between God/church and conscience, such as in the matter of the use of contraception. Logic lesson: When one makes a claim that something is false, it is not enough to declare it so. One has to prove it. AGAIN CONCRETE ACTIONS ARE NOT INDIFFERENT, THERE ARE OBJECTIVE STANDARDS THAT ONE REFERS TO. IF STANDARDS ARE IN CONFLICT, RESOLUTION IS CALLED FOR (contradictories, contraries, mediations, time dependents, categories, etc, etc). ALL KNOWLEDGE IS MEDIATED THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY. WHEN DIVINE AUTHORITY IS INVOKED, NECESSARILY FAITH IS ALSO CALLED UPON. WHEN EARTHLY AUTHORITY IS INVOKED THEN THE WHOLE GAMUT OF THE LAW COMES IN. (i hope you know where i am going with this) AND THEN COMES THE FINAL ARBITER, CONSCIENCE
                1.3. Sorry, I am not thinking of specific events. As a general rule, the Church should butt out. I am not saying that the Church cannot express an opinion. I am saying she should refrain from expressing one. She should suppress her desire to be included in the conversation and devote herself to her spiritual tasks in which she is failing. She has more than enough to do there. TOTALLY AGREE. THE CHURCH HAS ALSO STATED THIS: FAITH AND MORALS ARE HER PROVINCE. BUT THEREIN ALSO LIES THE PROVERBIAL RUB, THE AREA OF FAITH AND MORALS PERMEATES HUMAN ACTIVITY AND MANY FORCES ARROGATE JURISDICTION. I am not denying the role religion has played in the development of mankind, but religion is now a hindrance to development. It may be true when you say man were baffled by the insights of religion, but now it is religion that is baffled by the flowering of consciousness. TO MY MIND, THIS MEANS NOT A STOPPAGE BUT A CONTINUANCE OF CONVERSATION. IF WE SHARE THE SAME SCRIPTURE THEN I SAY WE ARE IN PENTECOST. Religion in the West no longer has the monopoly on truth, and lost at ever since the Age of Enlightenment. COME VISIT THE CHURCH SOME TIME, EDGAR. The central issue here is between a particular faith and secular freedom, and that particular faith should respect and no longer interfere or impose itself upon that freedom. Logic lesson: Have some fellow-feeling, some empathy, and reject the fallacies of ad populum and ad verecundiam: imagine how you would feel if Islam became the predominant religion and started to inflict itself upon your life. I HAVE!

                2. Agree. It is not a uniquely Filipino phenomenon. But one should not dismiss it. Logic lesson: This does not invalidate the truth of the issue.

                3. From my view, the entire approach of man to organized religion is a measure of individual weakness in that one depends on external authority. Admittedly, not everyone has the strength of mind to examine his life, but one should make the effort. Again, I am not saying that one should not listen to or consult with voices of authority, such as teachers or gurus. The voices of authority themselves must be genuine, and one must try to canvass opposing viewpoints. ALWAYS, ALWAYS. After all is said and done, one must listen to the voice of conscience and decide on one’s own as to what is true or not. If one takes on faith some truth/bias based on authority, one is still responsible for the consequences. AGAIN THANK YOU FOR THE REMINDER. AUTHORITY IS NOT NECESSARILY BAD. IF THERE IS SOMETHING I WAS THOROUGHLY EDUCATED IN, THAT WAS TO ALWAYS ABIDE BY TRUE FREEDOM.
                3.2. One does not need math to understand Einstein as a homo religiosus. Both he and Spinoza were deists, not theists. THANK YOU AGAIN. I HAVE KNOWN ONLY EINSTEIN THE SCIENTIST AND SPINOZA IS A WELL VETTED PHILOSOPHER. THANKS TO THE INTERNET, I CAN BEGIN A CONVERSATION WITH MY PHILOSOPHY MENTOR, FR FERRIOLS, SJ.
                3.3. Nihilism has two meanings: one is the advocacy of destruction and the other is the rejection of delusion. Buddha is a nihilist in the second sense, and he is a beautiful one. I PREFER TO READ ST JOHN PAUL II. Total negation is a valid path because after negating all that is false one is left with what is true; the antonym of delusion is truth. It is Occam’s Razor in action. HE MAKES SENSE AND I DO USE HIS PRINCIPLE MANY TIMES.
                3.3 – 3.5. As to pantheism, agnosticism and atheism, as I say we all vibrate at and to different frequencies. We choose our own paths and all are valid – although some are more valid than others. By what criterion? Refer to item 2 on my April 28, 2014 at 6:50 am post below.

                The world is a mess because we, as individuals and as institutions, are a mess. If (a) we strive to arrive at truth in our own way with all heart, mind, soul and strength; and (b) we share whatever truths we have found with each other, sharing but not imposing, striving to arrive at a consensus if possible, and being respectful if not possible, then (c) the world will be a better place. THIS ALSO WORKS FOR ME. THANK YOU.

                Note: (a) and (b) are my reinterpretations of the two greatest commandments.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Thanks. I will make this as brief as I can. We are all students.

                1. The reality you see is your truth and it is valid for you. I do not deny that validity. What I deny is, not your seeing, but the logic of your interpretation. You are conflating agape (first commandment) with eros/philia/storge (second commandment).

                1.2. Agree, there should be objective standards but none has been universally accepted so far. Divine authority cannot be invoked because there is no universal acceptance of it. Which Divinity are we talking about? The most comprehensive standard is the UDHR, but even this is not universally accepted. So in the meantime, we go by individual conscience and whatever law exists in the countries we reside in. In a theocracy, one goes by religious law. In a democracy, one goes by secular law. Even so, both conscience and the laws are not changeless. (Incidentally, I have proposed a code of of secular ethics if you look at the left margin of the front page of this blog.)

                1.3. (a) There should be no proverbial rub. Organized religion should know its limits. Individual spirituality has no limits. (b) There are two running streams of conversation: one secular and one religious. The religious conversation, I think, should be among the different religions to arrive at a common code of ethics; the agnostics and atheists should have representation. Then we will have objective standards. (c) I used to attend church (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and beer garden).
                *****

            • edgar lores says:

              ******
              The “logic lessons” are not meant to patronize but to clarify. Thinking rightly is the basis of behaving rightly and doing rightly. It is our best defense and our best hope.
              *****

        • Joseph-Ivo says:

          Correct, the only remaining question is “How?”. Can you express your love to the Lord by expressing your love to your neighbor with your heart, soul, mind and strength as Jesus did? My neighbor is as me, so I can imagine how. Or does the Lord requires me reading the Bible backwards in a headstand while castigating myself at home or in clearing my mind in totally silent meditation in a holy place or is it just repeating the secret formulas?

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            The one that includes headstands looks promising.
            *****

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Kidding aside, I will give three answers as to “How”. They differ from the re-interpretation conceptual attitudes I have offered above in that these are processes/methods. These are not mine.

            1. Total epiphany. This is non-rational, a sudden seizure of the spirit by the Spirit. It is instantaneous and arguably does not require time. It is a process (non-systematic) and not a method (systematic). Examples: Saul, Siddartha, Tolle.

            2. Total negation of what is not true. This is quasi-intuitive and quasi-rational. This may or may not require time. This is both process and method, but more process (non-systematic questing) than method (systematic practice). It may be the method that is the product of an initial process of epiphany. Examples: Krishnamurti, Einstein, and most mystics and philosophers. Better example: Siddartha had a total epiphany (awakening), and he transformed into the Buddha who developed the method (the dharma) of the Middle Path.

            3. The training in and practice of a method of morality that results in the growth of love and/or wisdom. This is quasi-rational and quasi-intuitive. It is method that invites process. That is, the systematic becomes automatic through practice, just like learning to drive, playing the piano or learning to love your neighbor. The extent of love or wisdom acquired – no, not acquired because it does not remain with one – rather produced depends on the level of effort and practice put in. This requires time. Example: Sonny, and almost everyone here.
            3.1. (Hmm, I wasn’t kidding about the headstands.)
            *****

            • Joseph-Ivo says:

              Is 1 different from the serendipity of discovering a new model?

              Isn’t 2 a circle reasoning? Truth is model dependent. Things that do not align with the model will have to be accepted as miracles or the model has to be corrected with exceptions. So the real question is are more than one model possible? Yes, often the model is observer (= place, time, personal history) dependent, a goldfish in a bowl sees the world outside differently. What is than the better model? For me the more elegant one, whatever that may be, it depends on my personal “esthetics”. My model for morality is the optimizing happiness of the group, disregarding the out-layer individuals if needed.

              3. Beliefs come from experience or from taking over believes of a trusted friend. Training can be both to deepen beliefs or to find new ones. It prvides experience or creates trust to take over ideas without self-experiencing, as “life after dead” for many. Beliefs and “esthetics” are family.

              3.1 In a previous life I worked for a voluntary service as a job student. On one building site at a school of nuns, they send me 2 seminarians with an identity crisis whom I had to cheer up. This headstand thing was exactly what one of them was doing 3 times a day to re-seek the love of God he had lost, but he was a nice guy. The other one was in deep trouble, he ended up in an institution. He believed that unborn children are still immaculate so one gets the original sin through birth and that means that all women give this sin to their offspring. To get immaculate again one had to enter the vulva in the reverse direction (????). He was searching for a transubstantiation method to realize this. His knowledge of the vulva and of transubstantiation was limited, so he needed Devine assistance, hence his severe penance exercises. And I was just a simple engineering student hired for my surveying skills.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                I love how you translate my lofty spiritual insights into practical engineering jargon. 😉

                1. No, it’s not different. Yes, it is the same as serendipity. But more than serendipity in that it is life-transforming. Serendipity, in my vocabulary, is a mini-epiphany. The other word for a total epiphany is “conversion”; another is “vastation”.

                2. Yes, there are many models. Subjectively speaking, the better model is the one that transforms you. Objectively speaking, the better model is the one that can explain or encompass the most number of exceptions. Perhaps, the best model is no-model: this is just being in non-duality.

                3. This is a pre-defined method like Christianity. What you say is correct: in practicing or training in the belief, there will be self-experiencing that will confirm “bias”. There will be biases that cannot be confirmed that one will have to take on faith.

                3.1. Ahahaha! So the passage is the source of original sin! To chauvinists, it is the cause of many unoriginal sins.
                3.1.1. Depending on the model, there may be no original sin. It is a bias that was invented to justify salvific models.
                3.1.2. If ever there is one, it would be willful ignorance.
                *****

              • Joe America says:

                3.1.2 Best zinger of the year . . .

          • sonny says:

            Jos-Ivo, here’re Scriptural suggestions:

            To feed the hungry.
            To give drink to the thirsty.
            To clothe the naked.
            To harbour the harbourless.[7] (also loosely interpreted today as To Shelter the Homeless)
            To visit the sick.
            To visit the imprisoned
            To bury the dead.

            To instruct the ignorant.
            To counsel the doubtful.
            To admonish sinners.
            To bear wrongs patiently.
            To forgive offences willingly.
            To comfort the afflicted.
            To pray for the living and the dead.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_of_mercy

    • wjarko says:

      Just to add, I’d like to share one parish in my neighborhood that just is the epitomy of rotten institution. I frequented that church until I just cant take it anymore, it breeded graft through indulgence and the rotten values that need to be weeded out of society.

      It just made me sick to my stomach everytime they say the names of the church sponors – “Praying for the special intentions of ……” – couldnt they pray on their own? why does it have to be mentioned in the middle of the mass.

      All the benches, walls, rails, etc., had nameplates with inscription of the donors. what for? to tell the world how virtuous these people were? does this buy their way into heaven? does it rid of their sins?

      For an institution as large as the Church, I think it should takeconcrete steps to stop these practices to enact real social change in the country.

      • sonny says:

        Wjarko, I can relate to what you say and notice about Catholic parishes. I reflect that the parish is where the rubber meets the road. I look at one pastor/priest (additional priest or deacon) if the parish is large enough. In most cases this is not enough because to minister the sacraments alone takes the time of the pastor and associates. The important answer of course is the volunteerism of the members of the parish who will be able to help prioritize parish affairs and execute needed proper practices. If and when this begins then a better state of affairs can be worked on in many levels of parish life.

  6. sonny says:

    Joe, this article gave me occasion to learn something about Biliran. It truly looks like a pristine chunk of paradise. I have not been there, obviously. My first reaction is why not have both the paradise and the geo-thermal bonus. I suspect both can be had. What I can say is for the PPPs to make sure the promised benefits not only trickle but cascade to those most in need, (pun intended).

    • Joe America says:

      You are absolutely right. There is plenty of room for both geothermal and pristine mountains. I wish I had the energy and inclination to do a real investigative journalist’s dig into the power plant decision. The rumor is that the fees paid to the governor were huge, to secure required permits. Rumor or fact? I have no idea. Huge fees would burden electricity rates downstream forever, and that to me is a kind of officialized corruption. Were there public hearings where community leaders such as the Church were invited to attend? I’d guess not, but there certainly should have been. Were environmental impact studies done? I don’t know. Who exactly comprises Biliran Geothermal Incorporated? Who is going to get the mammoth profits from this enterprise? I’d love to know but it appears to be a private undertaking, and I’d guess the governor has shares.

      You are right, the gains from the thermal resource belongs to all Biliran residents – the volcanic heat under our land, not unlike minerals and oil – and ought to go to all Biliran residents. But I rather think they will not, as that is not exactly the way things work here.

      • wjarko says:

        This is what the country needs, particularly the underdeveloped areas; cheap, clean, and reliable sources of energy and most especially NEW. Why word of advice though, watch carefully how they price the steam/power prices.

        The power plants built in the Marcos Era are aging and have been privitized for no logical reason at all. Ever since EDC bought the Unified Leyte Geothermal, steam prices from the geothermal wells have increased prices because they needed to recover the cost of acquistion from PSALM. The moment it was privitized, steam prices increased 1 peso for no value added at all. And now they are benchmarking prices with Austrailian Coal.

        Why the hell would they benchmark geothermal steam vs. coal, renewable energy with non-renewable? and Austrailia coal and AUD not even Philippine coal/Php? Their only reason is that their was no way to other benchmark for geothermal steam. Well, ofcourse! It indegenuous afterall, so evaluate it as it is, consider the local demand and supply; and not some foreign energy benchmark.

        The people of Biliran need to know this, and you need to guard your resources for it is in danger of being abused by the powerful. It practically a milking cow for businessmen and corrupt officials.

  7. sonny says:

    “But I rather think they will not, as that is not exactly the way things work here…”

    And so the Hydra must be fed or eliminated. The country’s public servants are consistently devolving into tollkeepers. It seems the PPPs are in the same position as non-PPPs, either group is rendered helpless. Mad Max help us!

    • Joe America says:

      There are a few politicians who have a fairly decent sense of what public service and trust mean, but I think these concepts are very thin at the provincial and city level, and obviously among certain thieving legislators. So the governors are little kings, having their positions guaranteed by dishing out favors to the influential. There is very little civic consciousness, I think. Interestingly enough, the mayor of our town is good and decent, but the governor seems to be a power monger who inserts himself first into any deal. He is very rich, and I’d bet he has a lot of control over the Geothermal Company. The Road Warrior. Yep, that’s what we need.

      Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 02:01:53 +0000 To: societyofhonor@gmail.com

  8. Micha says:

    The corrupting influence of the Catholic Church during its long history is well documented and has many references. It encompasses a whole range of human pursuit : moral corruption, intellectual corruption and, to a large extent, even spiritual corruption.

    The current bullshitter-in-chief from Rome, though widely popular than his predecessor by tentatively accepting what the common man had long held, doesn’t fail in the corrupting business by claiming that the internet, because it is “good”, is a “gift from God”.

    And Tim Berners-Lee be damned.

    Meanwhile, his minions in CBCP do not seem to think that thermal energy from the earth’s core is not worthy to be tapped by human hands because it will what? Damage the ecosystem of Biliran?

    Hahahahaha..right you are ministers. Let’s just stick to coal and black gold from Bahrain. Afterall, those are also, I’d reckon you would all say, “gift from God”?

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      I am a solar energy user and enjoy net metering. While my quarterly electricity bill shows a credit balance, I am still far off from being on the positive side of the ledger. I am still paying off the solar panel system and it will probably take 3-4 more years to break even. Assuming the system is good for 15-20 years, that means I will be enjoying not only free electricity, but also being paid for generating electricity, for at least a good 10 years. Knock on wood.

      In Australia, the argument against net metering is not as vitriolic as in the US. Thankfully, the Koch brothers do not have evil twins here. After all, net metering was the incentive to convert to solar energy. However, the rate of electricity buyback by utility companies has been halved since the inception of the scheme. The argument that solar energy users do not contribute to maintenance cost does not wash. We are co-producing electricity that the utility companies distribute to non-solar energy users, and for which they (the companies) are being paid. This is without having to mention the counterpoint of sustainability.

      The Philippines is an ideal place to take advantage of solar power and it should have a good look at the technology. Set-up costs are rapidly declining as take-up of the technology increases.
      *****

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s