Does mercy and compassion extend to the corrupt?

pope francis

by Andrew Lim

The 2015 Philippine Papal visit is themed “mercy and compassion.” On its official website the rationale is very explicit: Pope Francis will visit the Philippines primarily to comfort Filipinos devastated by the typhoon and the earthquake that hit the Visayas.” “In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis proclaims that the Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. “


My view is that the Pope understands the lengthy, drawn out process of rebuilding, and that the initial outburst of compassion for the victims would wither over time. Pledges may not be fulfilled; volunteers may quit and move on; others will find new causes to support. Hence, the need to re-emphasize the need for sustained mercy and compassion for our unfortunate brethren.

But in the quotes above, take note of the word “forgiven.”

In the recent past, Francis made headlines when he seemingly took a more liberal view of homosexuals and divorcees, separating the individual from his sins. This seemed to set the tone of  a more open, tolerant and forgiving papacy. But what does forgiveness include?

Would Francis advocate mercy and compassion to Janet Napoles, Enrile, Estrada, Revilla, et al? Or the Bilibid Prison inmates who are so incorrigible they were able to smuggle cash and phones again after the transfer to NBI detention?  Does it include those who plundered this country in the past and were never made accountable for it?

It must be noted that Francis had taken a strong stance against the Italian Mafia, excommunicating them as a group:

I raise this question because as I argued in a previous piece (  certain facets of Catholicism seem to increase the tolerance for corruption by inadvertently encouraging us to look for the “loopholes” as many people are wont to do and exploit it. For instance, if anything and everything can be forgiven, why not continue your wicked ways till your literal last minute on earth and then ask for forgiveness? That would seem to be a win-win but if you ask me it would be a fool’s bargain. Wasn’t that what the thief nailed at the side of Christ did? If purgatory exists, (defined as a halfway house where the unqualified are given a chance to cleanse) then why not gamble on getting there after one’s life  ends instead of aiming for heaven?  Why not have your cake and eat it, too?

Let’s step into the shoes of a man trapped in a Berlin bunker in April 1945. Your dreams of world conquest have collapsed; Soviet forces are very close to getting you. Suddenly, you dread the idea of dying and you ask for forgiveness. You feel remorse for the death of six million Jews you were directly responsible for and millions of others caught in that world war. Will you be forgiven?

Or let’s say you’re in exile in Hawaii, chased out by an angry populace whom you have plundered and oppressed for two decades. Just before your kidneys fail you, you feel repentant, though you have no more time for restitution. Your descendants will have to do that for you. Will you be forgiven?

If your answer to these two questions is yes, does it not make the evil endeavors worth it? You will be forgiven anyway.

I raise these questions because in a third world society like the Philippines, where superstition, folklore, Catholicism, primitive worship and  millenarianism intertwine amongst the locals, concepts like “justice”, “accountability”, “restitution” all seem to get buried by dominant themes of “reconciliation” , “forgiveness”, “everyone is a sinner”, “don’t judge others lest you be judged”. The crimes of the corrupt get downgraded to the level of quarreling siblings and the call is to “let go” and “move on”.

Remember Tito Sotto’s song “Magkaisa” written shortly after the 1986 EDSA revolution?  It was meant to distract from the issue of justice and restitution, and as Sotto himself admits, he was a Marcos supporter.  (Source: Rogue Magazine interview of Vicente Sotto III, Jan/Feb 2013)

When Pnoy recalled that he thought of revenge after his dad was murdered, there were those who  called him a vengeful and vindictive person. Who were they?  Former Marcos and Arroyo speechwriters.

When the PDAF scammers were indicted, the CBCP was quick to come out with a statement cautioning people not to condemn as we are all sinners. ( )  Does this not weaken our resolve to fight corruption? I am not aware if they asked for prayers for the witnesses and public prosecutors who are only armed with their convictions and their meager salaries.

This is what I hope the Church or Pope Francis would clarify. Because I think that is what makes corruption and the impunity with which it is done so pervasive here despite our strong religiosity.

Shouldn’t justice – in the here and now and not just in the hereafter – be pursued as strongly as “Love one another.”?

Does mercy and compassion extend to the corrupt?


154 Responses to “Does mercy and compassion extend to the corrupt?”
  1. Steve says:

    For me the core issue of this visit is not what the Pope says to or about the likes of Binay, Estrada, or Enrile, or what he says to or about the poor afflicted by Haiyan, but what he says to and about the CBCP. The Philippine hierarchy exemplifies all that Francis wants to change in the Chirch… will he challenge them openly, or even privately? To me it’s an enormous test of his character. He is willing to challenge the Curia in Rome, but is he willing to challenge one of the Church’s most persistently medieval branches on its own turf

    It’s difficult (or impossible) to believe that Francis doesn’t know what’s going on in the Philippine hierarchy. The decision he makes here, to challenge them publicly or not, will be one of the defining moments of his early papacy.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      That’s an interesting angle I haven’t pondered on. From what I know, wide latitude is given by the Vatican to its dioceses to conduct their affairs, and would only step in if there is a grave situation (e.g. liberation theologists, Leonardo Boff) But I know nothing about how they deal with financial impropriety for instance. I don’t think they have much internal controls like in private businesses. Integrity is just presumed since they are supposedly holy men.

      Handling pedophilia cases involving clergy took them some time before they could act. They didn’t know how to handle it at the start, re-shuffling them to new assignments instead, leading to more damage.

      If you are referring to bishops like Arguelles of Lipa (plus others in the National Transformation Council organized by Arroyo and Marcos loyalists ) who openly advocate political causes like the removal of President Aquino, then perhaps they could be subject to a papal review.

      • Steve says:

        I’m, thinking less of a formal papal review than of what the Pope might say in public. I doubt that he’d single out individuals to chastise, but he has been known to make pointed remarks in public that have fairly obvious targets. All he has to do is continue his standard themes about the priorities of the Church to place himself directly at odds with the Philippine hierarchy, which exemplifies everything Francis has criticized.

        Having Bishops demand the removal of Aquino after they so gratuitously kissed the backsides of the likes of GMA and Napoles is unedifying to say the least, and it is not that hard to imagine Francis making a few pointed remarks. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      The Pope visit is nothing but apologizing to what evil his master has done. What the Pope should have done is lobby before his master not to harm Philippines again and lobby to make Filipinos a better people like what he bestowed to the Jews.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        That is a tall order, Mariano.

        This Pope is a forward looking one so I am asking you do the same. The past is past. We can’t “do over” what had been done so let’s deal with the here and now.

  2. edgar lores says:

    1. Clearly, the Church is in a state of deep confusion. Francis has shaken her foundations to the very roots with volleys of self-criticism… and Archbishop Villegas is trying hard to play catch-up while the rest of the unmindful bishops play at trying to outdo in each other in officiating at weddings, royal or not.

    2. We have said before that the Church suffers from PREMATURE FORGIVING in the practice of the sacrament of confession. In my view, this encourages corruption.

    3. I understand that there is a distinction between compassion and mercy. Mercy is showing forbearance to an offender or sinner. Compassion is showing deep sympathy for one who suffers but who may not have offended or sinned.

    3.1. Bearing this distinction in mind, mercy should NOT be extended to the corrupt. From a secular legal viewpoint, they deserve punishment for their wrongdoing. If at all, mercy may be shown in reducing the severity of their legal punishment, like from a sentence of 50 life imprisonments to 49.

    3.1.1. From a sectarian viewpoint, the Church may mindlessly offer mercy in the ritual of confession… but will God?

    3.2. As to compassion, it should be held out first and foremost to the victims of the corrupt. It may be extended to the corrupt in the form of three meals a day, but no meriendas, no air-conditioning and, please, no Jacuzzis.

    3.2.1. The Church should clarify when speaking of mercy and compassion whether they mean secular punishment or divine punishment. Under the separation doctrine, we should assume the latter; but in the face of continuous Church meddling, we must assume the former. If so, the Church and Archbishop Villegas display symptoms of cognitive dissonance. One belief says, “Who are we to condemn?” And the other condemnatory belief says, “Those who are charged must deal with the full force of the law.” (This dissonance can be seen in the mantra, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” which dissociates the sinner from the sin.)

    4. As for corruption in the Church:

    4.1. She should receive NO FORGIVENESS for her cover-up of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

    4.1.2. Francis has created two commissions to deal with this issue – one to advise him on the crisis and another to handle appeals lodged by convicted priests – but secrecy continues to shroud the workings of these commissions.

    4.2. Therefore, she should receive NO MERCY until and unless she practices the sacrament of confession, revealing in number and in kind all clergy involved in the sexual abuse and the cover-up within, say, the last 100 years.

    4.3. The victims and families of clerical sexual abuse must be treated with compassion, in particular by the Church. SOME COMPASSION may be offered to both the abusive clergy and the cover-uppers, perhaps in the form of prayers for the salvation of their deranged souls.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      The Pope should not promise more than he can apologize !!! The Current Pope has came down to earth with two feet on the ground. The Current Pope should tell the people that they are the ones that answers their prayers not God. That they should do what they prayed and walk-the-prayers not pray-and-wait. The Pope knows this. He is just not telling the world because it is bad business and The Pope also knows that if tells the world that God is tulog sa pansitan The Pope will not last a day.

      God is what holding the Filipinos up by a thread. Those religious Filipinos who have been blessed by Americans with a VISA have turned their back on God. It has come to their realization that secular atheist Americans has given them more, like, iPhone 6 than the God they left behind in the Philippines.

      • edgar lores says:


        There’s a lesson in there somewhere. BFD noted some days ago that the Americans treated the enemy, Japan, better than they did their ally, the Philippines. Now you say that God treats secular Americans better than devoted Filipinos.

        Hmm. The lesson seems to be that… it is better to be the hostile enemy of the powerful than to be the faithful ally.

        This may be true in all cases… except when the powerful is the wife. In this instance, one must not only be a faithful ally but also a submissive one.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      Thanks for the distinction between compassion and mercy. In your 3.2 that is where Filipinos stumble.

      Mercy and compassion turns into recording studios, sex toys and gyms and jacuzzis in a high security prison. 🙂

  3. Attila says:

    The Pope is welcomed to erase the sins of many. It is like wiping out a hard drive and reformatting it. This way many Filipinos can start sinning again until the hard drive gets cluttered. Hopefully the Pope will come soon to “reformat” Filipino hard drives again and give them a clean start. The 200,00.00 Two hundred thousand Filipino men that are responsible for impregnating that many teenagers every year will go back to impregnate more teenagers. Church will not find themselves addressing this problem ever with pope or without the pope.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      I like your analogy to computer hardware. But with the advent of cloud computing, all that bad data is still up there, never to be erased.

      Your comment on eternal impregnation is jarring to the imagination. 🙂

      • Attila says:

        In contrast, the US is asking Poland to extradite Roman Polanski for the statutory rape of a teenage girl after all those years. Then I was thinking; what about the teenage pregnancies in the Philippines? There are 200,000.00 every year and no one seem to care about the impregnators. Nada, zero, zilch, unless the a white men is the culprit. Only then you will see it on the front page of all news media. Eternal impregnation of teenage Filipinas by authentic Filipino men. Look, you have to be a member of the club to do it. Hallelujah!

        • Bert says:

          Impregnation is not a crime here in the Philippines, is it a crime in your country, Attila? Rape is. Rapists are prosecuted here regardless of the skin color of the criminals and if you are really reading the news media here you will know that the number of Filipino men accused and being prosecuted for raping a teenager far outnumbered that miniscule number of white, as you say, ‘culprit’. In fact I don’t know of any case involving a white accused of raping a teenage Filipina, can you enlighten me?

          There is no Filipino club here that you speak of that caters to impregnating teenage Filipinas, but if you are so inclined you can try it, at your risks, :).

          • edgar lores says:


            I’m sorry. Your first sentence made me laugh out loud. Perhaps it should be declared a crime?

            • Bert says:

              No, no, Edgar, please, it should not be declared a crime. After all, the survival of the human species depended solely on it. With eternal impregnation as mentioned by Attila, the Filipinos might yet in the future save the human race from potential extinction, who knows.

              No need for the sorry, just want to lighten up the atmosphere a bit because the conversation around here is getting too serious at times.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, Bert. I’ve got tears in my eyes from laughing!

              • Joe America says:

                Have you heard the one about the three guys who went into a bar? One was Catholic, the other Muslim and the third a Jew. . . .

              • Bert says:

                No, Joe. Please tell us. I want a good laugh, too. Haven’t had one since the last time when Edgar mimicked Mariano Pacifico.

              • Joe America says:

                I only start jokes. Edgar has to finish them. I dare not try to compete with such classics as that.

              • Attila says:

                Statutory rape is not an actual rape. Having sex with a minor is qualified as a statutory rape and for a very good reason. I’m not a child psychologist, but it is just a common sense to me. When Filipino men impregnate underage girls than it is a glorious achievement worth to be proud of, I’m fascinated how so many Filipino men justifies it. I’m also fascinated how Filipino society reacts appropriately when whites have sex with underage girls. This is one the reasons l like to study the Filipino. A very interesting culture. As you already know those pregnancies are all recorded and it would be easy to backtrack the 200,000.00 impregnation specialist. In the USA or even in Hungary they would get automatic jail time for the crime of statutory rape. In the Philippines, well, that’s another story. Let’s hope that the Pope will address this issue. lol

              • Bert says:

                Attila, I have some issues with some of your misconceptions about Filipino attitudes and culture which I think are derogatory and disparaging to say the least, but I don’t want to engage in a tit for tat and insulting argument with you in this thread because I have so much respect for Joe the host and so I just will let this pass. I will just consider it your right to express your own opinion however inappropriate and offensive it may be to the sensibility.

              • Attila says:

                Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not American or even West European. Hungarians in general don’t play nice. I guess Our history tough us to be a little more critical. You either get used to it or it is the way of life for us. Cultural difference I guess. Filipinos give themselves permission to behave badly and I react accordingly. Look we really don’t have to agree and that is perfectly fine with me. Out of respect for Joe I do not go further with my opinion though sometimes I feel I should. Americans and West Europeans are no match to Filipinos. You clearly can get way with bad behavior but not with me. Just like I always did I will give another angle to your arguments. I keep it cool as usual.

              • Joe America says:

                I appreciate the temperance. That said, maybe I should sponsor a blog dedicated to down and dirty argument. Open to all as an exercise in bloodletting and emotional release. Probably would up the circulation. Comments WITHOUT the words moron, idiot, stupid, or asshole would be removed for editorial discretion. Those and any sneaky efforts to actually work on resolving issues. Hmmmm . . . I may be on to something here . . . 🙂

              • Bert says:

                Then don’t play nice if as you say that is your culture in Hungary. I’m not going to impose anything on you or play with you that way. I expect you to be at least be accurate and proper with your opinion, or is that also not the norm in Hungary? Let me cite you some examples: You said “when Filipino men impregnate underage girls then it is a glorious achievement worth to be proud of.” That’s not true, but how could you know that unless that’s the norm to Hungarian men and you’re applying it to another culture….or you’re good at extra sensory perception. Are you? Here’s another of your statement, “…no one seem to care about the impregnators. Nada, zero, zilch, unless the a white men is the culprit.” What culprit, can you tell us one case where a white man is the culprit, impregnating a minor Filipina girl? If you cannot then you’re inventing something, a trait I’m not sure is a Hungarian strength. Here’s another, “In the USA or even in Hungary they would get automatic jail time for the crime of statutory rape. In the Philippines, well, that’s another story.” You’re wrong again. We’ve been jailing rapists, lots of them, statutory and real rape whatever, you can look it up if you really want to know.

                You kept on hammering about impregnation, eternal even you say, correlating it to statutory rape, citing even statistics of teenage pregnancy, 200,000 in number you say? I could agree with you on the number, but implying that all those were of the statutory origin is totally false. I don’t know about laws prevailing in your country, but here in the Philippine it is age 12 or below for it to be considered statutory rape. I understand there is a proposal to amend the law pending in Congress to increase the age to 16 but I don’t know if it’s approved already.

                I could go on, but I have to eat my breakfast. Playing nice, if you don’t know, can really taxed a person and I suppose that’s one trait Filipinos should do away with.

    • edgar lores says:

      Impregnation without responsibility — a view from an Australian tabloid that supports Attila’s contention:

      Warning: The pictures are jarring.

      • Attila says:

        I admit I like to shoot from the hip and sometimes I may not be as accurate as required by some butt-hurt Filipinos. Unfortunately for them I know the culture and the thinking in depth, so at the end I still end up hitting the right nerve. My English may not be as accurate either since I didn’t have the luxury to grow up in a former US colony but the Communist, Soviet Union where the only language I was allowed to study was Russian. I will not use curse word as Joe requested: moron, idiot, stupid, or asshole. Maybe in Russian? Hmm, no, rather not let’s keep it civilized. I will keep taking shots at Filipinos as long they keep up with their grandiose, tricky denial tactics. Edgar somehow got it and he knows what I’m talking about. Bert and others like him probably never had to deal with a puti like me so I understand his reaction. Let’s hope there will be more Filipinos who will have the guts to come forward and stop the nonsense.

        • Bert says:

          I’ve dealt with lots of your kind, Attila, all shooters from the hip, and missing. Keep shooting but stick to the facts and you will not hear from me.

  4. macspeed says:

    Church is not supposed to interfere with Political problems and issues. They should act only for Religious matters and the likes. Provide best sermons on how to be good, on how to help share their wealth to the poor etc…

    But to ask to forgive the Jailed Politicians is an act of anti-Christ. Just think about sinless Jesus Christ nailed to the cross as people of the book believed? The criminals abused the belief that Jesus died for their Sins, so they raped and adulterated the peoples money? NO FORGIVENESS!!! They violated the belief of forgiveness upon Jesus Death on the cross, they should pay for that, death as well!!!

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      The Church has their newspapers and the government they needed to prop up and market their religion. The government has declared a 3-day Holy Day of Atonement. No Work. No School. Horrray !!!! The largest circulated newspaper, Philippine Daily Inquirer seems like a news publication from the deep of Middle East whose news and columnists spout God can-do-this column but never its perpetual failures.

  5. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    There should not be Mercy and Compassion of the corrupts. The Pope should not give them audience or semblance of audience or by mere mention. It is clear that politicians, all corrupt, are clambering all over everybody just to kiss the hand of the Pope for that 15-minute electoral fame.

    What I want the Pope to go to is University of the Philippines to exorcise it of wanton evil and corruption. It has produced the most crooks than all the Universities in the Philippines combined !

    The following products of University of the Philippines who held prominence in politics and corruption:
    1. Jinggoy Estrada
    2. Jejo Binay
    3. Elenita Binay
    4. Abigail Binay
    5. Antonio Tiu
    6. Gloria Arroyo
    7. The guy from Department of Health
    8. That guy from Department of Agriculture

    too many of them to mention … they get elected because of their school they came from … they get cabinet positions because of the “mastery” of their “trade” whatever that is.

    The Pope is our last hope to exorcise U.P., Ateneo and La Salle. Never heard of crooks from Santo Tomas. No wonder The Pope chose Santo Tomas playing host because their graduates are honest.

    • edgar lores says:


      Chief Justice Renato Corona obtained his Doctor of Civil Law degree from Santo Tomas.

      He was impeached for being dishonest in his SALN.

      However, you may be right. He finished his Bachelor of Laws from Ateneo. Perhaps his Atenean personality overcame his Thomasian personality and was responsible for the dishonesty?

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I wonder what Benigno Aquino would do with Carlos Celdran to avoid embarrassment?
    Has religious ecunimical Philippine newspapers run by U.P. graduates interviewed Carlos what he would do?

    Let us watch Carlos Celdran. What I am afraid of he will wear the Padre Damaso outfit. Go thru security and rub elbows with The Pope. Of course, The Pope would not have him tackled, else, it would appear that The Pope doesn’t have mercy and compassion.

    • edgar lores says:


      It seems that Francis and Carlos are on the same side, united in their criticism of the Damasos.

      While Carlos’ criticism centers around priests who meddle into secular affairs, Francis’ criticisms center around priests who have lost their spiritual vocation, those who suffer from “existential schizophrenia.”

      Funny that. Tagle says the Church has forgiven Carlos (as if the Church had the right to do so). Will the clergy forgive Francis?

      I think Carlos will give Francis a pass. What Francis should do though is rub elbows with Carlos, and have him stand or sit beside him.

    • manuel buencamino says:

      I think Celdran should look ahead, his conviction has been upheld by the CA so he should now stock up on KY. 🙂

      • Dolly Gonzales says:

        I may have completely misread it, but do I detect a hint of ‘schadenfreude’ in the comment?

        Does Celdran deserve to be imprisoned? Me, I don’t think so.

        • edgar lores says:


          • Dolly Gonzales says:

            (late remarks) … Insightful article, asking tough questions. Particularly: “…does it not make the evil endeavors worth it? You will be forgiven anyway.” I hope answers are forthcoming.

            Haha @edgar, just saw the smiley… 🙂
            An injustice will have been done if Celdran is imprisoned. To deprive a person of liberty – or life (Charlie Hebdo) – for offending religious feelings is extreme. Yes it’s the law, hence the courts had perhaps no recourse but to issue the judgment. (A law that condemns a woman to death by stoning – for adultery – is unjust, albeit legal.)

            It’s ironic that clergymen who preach compassion did not discourage the faithful who charged Celdran in court. In the light of their RH bill stance – a matter of faith proclaimed as passionately as compassion – their silence in Celdran’s case was tacit encouragement. I agree with the observation that it was loss of spiritual vocation that was being objected to. And was Celdran criticizing someone else’s religion, isn’t he Catholic? If so, that’s his family he’s criticizing. The same way the world seems to demand from moderate Muslims – (fairly or unfairly, I don’t know) – that they be more vocal in opposing extremists who, they frequently say, pervert their peaceful religion by resorting to murder.

  7. josephivo says:

    Too much of a good thing is bad, also too much mercy or too much forgiveness. Each virtue as it opposite vice, total absence of the vice is bad too. Mercy as opposite from cruelty? Absence of all cruelty, no ability to punish is bad. A well dosed punishment as way to correct can be necessary. Don’t we need prisons? The discussion is where does too much of a virtue or too little of a vice becomes bad.

    In an environment of cruel people I would preach mercy, in an environment of over-merciful people I would insist on the need of harsher punishments. So in the Philippines with its very friendly people it is clear what message they need. “Stop impunity!!!”

    I’m curious to see how “situational” the Pope will be. One costume fits all or different people having different needs.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      Now that’s a very balanced and sober assessment. As always, it’s in the calibration.

    • edgar lores says:

      “Too much of a good thing is bad…”

      There is only one exception I can think of: goodness.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        plus salted caramel ice cream… 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          Ahaha! Salted ice cream? Doesn’t that cause a tummyache?

          • andrewlim8 says:

            no no no… it is the best thing in the world…. try it sometime, I’m sure they have that in Perth… the saltiness yins the yang of the sweetness of the caramel and it never ends…

            • Joe America says:

              Perhaps down under the salt falls off. Or the ice cream falls out of the cone.

              Which got me to thinking about Australia and cultural customs there, totally off topic, I know. I was in Brisbane the day of the Melbourne Stakes, a horse race akin to the Kentucky Derby in the States. The men got duded up and the ladies got dolled up in fancy hats and made their ways down to the casinos to party the day away, also much like is done in the States, only there are no casinos in Kentucky, but that never stopped a grand race day party. haha. I wonder what Edgar does on race day.

  8. Karl Garcia says:

    Mercy and compassion do extend to the corrupt.

    But to extend as in reach them …..duralex rolex .duralex pyrex.

    We have selective amnesia we forgive and we forget. Once an issue simmers down we forget.
    But we also have elephant like memories, so does that make us bipolar?

    JPE can be made as an example; martial law edsa revolution ,coups,etc,etc. We forgot all those issues somehow until someone was brave enough to remind us….or until he was caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

    Now regarding Celdran, the CBCP can forgive him by dropping charges or a motion of desistance or something like that. But newspaper reports states that Tagle says that they were not the one’s who filed charges and as far as Tagle is concerned, he is already forgiven.

    I think regarding audits, Ernst and Young has been hired to do the inhouse cleaning.

  9. edgar lores says:


    1. Archbishop Villegas just announced that “Being a homosexual is not a sin. It is a state of a person.”

    2. Syllogism:

    Major premise: Being homosexual is not a sin.
    Minor premise: The state of being a homosexual is performing love in homosexual ways.
    Conclusion: Therefore performing love in homosexual ways is not a sin.

    • BFD says:

      Ah Joe, I want to remind you that there is an example or template for a government official. Zaccheus, the tax collector, or what in today’s modern world called BIR collector. It’s in Luke 19

      1. Zaccheus sought to see Jesus. How? By climbing a tree. Luke 19:2-

      2. Jesus acknowledge his efforts by dining at Zaccheus’ house.

      3. Zaccheus pledged to return the money he stole 4 times more.

      4. Jesus again acknowledged him as saved. Why? Because of his repentant gesture.

      In the example you’ve given, there was no repentant gesture, so only God can really say if that man you’re talking about is saved or not. But I believe Zaccheus’ story was there as a template for government officials who have sinned defrauding taxpayers of their money.


      • Bert says:


        I am not so well versed of the bible as you are, but can you tell whether Luke mentioned whether Zaccheus full filled his pledged to return the money 4 times? Because if he did, then God certainly was correct in saving him but not if Zaccheus reneged on his pledge. We can just imagine if government officials, for example Binay, assuming he stole 2 billion pesos in one transaction alone then by an act of contrition returns the money to the government four times the amount stolen then by golly if we multiply that with the number of thief in government then certainly that would be a positive thing. Not only that Binay and the rest will be saved but the country as well.

        • edgar lores says:

          Twist: they will have to steal more to pay.

          • BFD says:


            This is one ending that I don’t have an answer because what I’m implying is the template that’s inside the story of Zaccheus. If Zaccheus fulfilled it or not, it’s for Zaccheus alone to face. As with all of us, we will face God when our time comes so let’s not preempt our Maker in His Judgment.

            But concern ourselves to the template Jesus has given us through Luke concerning a tax collector which can be substituted to a government official because they are all dealing with taxpayer’s money.

            As for VP Binay, he alone knows what he has done. And you as a taxpayer have the right to vote Binay out of office if you want to. Make it two of us. It’s our right and our privilege to vote him out of office if he has done this corruption of our taxes we paid.

  10. David Murphy says:

    Many of the comments focused on the unfairness of death-bed forgiveness. Jesus told a story about workers who were hired at different times of the day but all were paid the same wage. When one who had toiled hard in the sun all day long protested that this was unfair, Jesus had the employer say in essence, “That’s not your business. You got what we agreed.” In another story Jesus says that those who serve Him by doing good to the poor and disadvantaged will be rewarded with eternal life while those who do not will be thrown into a lake of fire. From these two stories I gather that we are to do our best to exemplify the virtues which we like to call Christian but which are common to all religions and we are to leave the judging to God. Since I am not Catholic I do not believe that what a priest does at the end of someone’s life preempts God’s judgement. I also believe that whatever happens to us after our death, anyone who calls himself Christian but does not do the good works is missing the main benefit of the Christian life. Conversely, those who do the good works and do not consider themselves Christians may just be fooling themselves. As Al Capp said through his character Mammy Yokum many years ago, “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer.”

    • edgar lores says:

      “Conversely, those who do the good works and do not consider themselves Christians may just be fooling themselves.”

      Why? Why fool themselves? Isn’t doing food works a reward in itself without the expectation of going to heaven?

      Conversely, those who do good works in expectation of the reward of going to heaven — like Binay offering to repair Church building faults — may be trying to fool God.

      • Bert says:

        Amen, Edgar.

        • BFD says:

          “Conversely, those who do good works in expectation of the reward of going to heaven — like Binay offering to repair Church building faults — may be trying to fool God.” -Edgar Lores

          … may be trying to fool God should be may be trying to fool the priests or the bishops or other prelates, but not God. No one can fool God.


          • edgar lores says:

            True, but Binay thinks he can. And so too Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, etc.

            • BFD says:

              They are only fooling themselves if that’s the case. No, I think it’s not even that. With the way things are turning, where the high officials of the land is getting VIP treatment from the government, they don’t get to spend in a cramped cell like regular detainees do, there lies the motivation to steal because even if they are caught, they will not endure what the regular prisoners are enduring.

              Even if they go to Bilibid, some will ask the government for a hospital arrest, others will ask to be constructed a Bilibid condobol with condo amenities, even visitation rights of all people they want to visit them.

              So there’s really no fear in getting caught, but if the government will have the balls to implement what should be implemented and not be swayed by the yickyacking minions of these bad and corrupt politicians and government officials, there will be a better Philippines for all of us Filipinos.


              • edgar lores says:

                They are not only fooling themselves. More importantly, they are also fooling the public.

                I agree with you that they seem to have no fear because they expect they are in many ways above the law, which is the definition of impunity.

                I also totally agree with your conclusion: there should be no mercy for a better Philippines. Which is what I said originally (in item 3.1 above).

  11. Pinoyputi says:

    Quote:Luther taught that salvation and subsequently eternity in heaven is not earned by good deeds but is received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin and subsequently eternity in Hell.
    It is almost a miracle that more then 500 years later we are struggling with this question. Of course, for the Roman Catholic church any crime is included to be forgiven. If not it is the end of of this Institute. In all these hundreds and even thousand of years priest, friars, bishops and popes are responsible for the death and abuse of millions of people. The Philippines and its “indio” were stolen from, discriminated and raped by the friars. And it is still going on, ask the hundreds of abused children in the US and Europe. In several cases the the leaders of the church were aware of the facts but choose not to act.
    I believe this pope is sincere, as an individual. Not because of the Roman Catholic Church or his congregation, remember it were the Jesuits who drove Aglipay to start the independent Philippine church, but he got his heart in the right place.
    I believe it is not up to the church to decide whether or not somebody should be forgiven. The people as a nation will decide on that, but only after punishment is served.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahh, very good. Thus the need for a secular state. The crooks bear no accountability to the people, the Church is complicit it releasing them from their accountability, and so the people, through the State, will impose it. The crooks can have another judgment when they go to meet their Maker. So can the priests who walk a wayward path. At the State will have accepted accountability for its own.

  12. andrewlim8 says:

    My reply to David Murphy above. Putting it here because the thread has grown and it is difficult to see where it attaches.

    The purpose of my article is not to find the answer to those metaphysical/philosophical questions but to focus the spotlight on striving for a just society – in the here and now – and clear the barriers to it.

    Of course I’m certain you do not mean abandoning the work of the Dept of Justice, NBI, prison system, etc when you say “leave the judging to God.” Or is it?

  13. manuel buencamino says:

    Well I wouldn’t be overly concerned about what the Pope meant by forgiveness because he didn’t say when we should forgive, which I think is the most important aspect when it comes to forgiving. So I guess the Pope gives us carte blanche to choose when to forgive. I choose to forgive only after the administration of just penalties. As to the religious aspect of forgiveness well they do say that Christ died for our sins so that means all is forgiven, all dogs go to heaven. The usual suspects will be up there with everybody else. So it’s only here where we can give them a taste of hell and the Pope issued no prohibition on that. All he said is that we should forgive at some point. 🙂

    • andrewlim8 says:

      Given your answer, plus the newest Charlie Hebdo issue with its “all is forgiven” caption for a weeping Mohammad, my take:

      Forgiveness is a personal thing, and the aggrieved are encouraged to forgive once they are ready so that they can move on. But the others- the state, neighbors, friends and families are enjoined to seek justice through the courts/prison system etc because that is the fulfillment of “love one another.”

      Society will collapse if the latter is not done, because that will breakdown all order and make it a free-for-all like Somalia.

    • josephivo says:

      Discussions often tend to discussions on the meaning and usage of a word then on the difference of opinion on underlying issues. Some thoughts to clarify.

      1. Forgiving can be only hurtful for the one that does not forgive. Forgiving can be a manifestation of strength or an easy way out. Forgiving can be superficial, socially required.

      2. Four types of forgiveness, in a win/win-, win/loose-, loose/win- and loose/loose situation.

      3. Forgiving in the context of conflict resolution. Forgiving is required in different levels in the five response strategies: collaborating, accommodating, compromising, avoiding and competing.

      4. Forgiving on a “supernatural” or religious level is a belief issue.

  14. Bert says:

    “Conversely, those who do the good works and do not consider themselves Christians may just be fooling themselves.”—David Murphy

    Sounds to me that God created people with the intention of concentrating goodness exclusively in the hands of Christians. The rest are considered…what? Infidels?

  15. Fred Escobar says:

    Good ending question Joe. May I mention though Joe that we were all given by the Almighty the most powerful gift that He could ever give us…….Free Will. It is up to each and everyone of us to stand up to what we would to do with ourselves. We were all given the choice to do good or bad since we were baptized. To receive forgiveness would depend on our initial use of our free will before committing the crime or the good act….the sincerity, willfulness or the impunity or premeditation. My humble comment to your satire………..

    • Joe America says:

      Andrew Lim gets credit for this one, Fred, as he is willing to go where some quake, to question things of faith. I would imagine the sincerity of one’s desire for forgiveness would also enter the equation, something easily tested by efforts to compensate those one has punished. I rather imagine the plunderers seek God’s guidance and perhaps forgiveness, but I doubt that we will see any form of compensation to those who should have benefited from the stolen money. If we did, I’d see them as sincere. Lacking that, I would conclude they are trying to fool God.

      • BFD says:

        I think I’ve seen this played over and over again where the alleged culprit invokes the name of God or portray the garment of religiousness (Mayor Sanchez with him hugging a religious icon, Bong Revilla wearing a t-shirt with verses on it and invoking God’s word but without the necessary action of giving back to the government coffers what was allegedly stolen, VP Binay with his repair of the church buildings. We must take this just as an external actions of men trying to appease the wraths of the people by just being religious outwardly, but not really having the substance of it (the penance part, the giving back part of the equation)

        Without this, they are not really fooling God, because God sees the heart. They are just fooling themselves and fooling those people who want to be fooled by them. It is all for show and for the appeasement of the wrath of the people against them, not really for God to forgive them.

        It’s like Achan in Exodus where the whole family of Achan was destroyed because of him stealing the objects that were supposed to be for God.

        It took God to cast lots on Israel to find out who the culprit was because the people who knew who the perpetrator was didn’t give him up at the first instance of the crime. God knew who the perpetrator was, but I think he was waiting for a whistleblower at that time…. unfortunately, no one came forward.

        Maybe Achan was trying to fool his fellow Israelites at that time by his religiosity like the ones mentioned above.

        • Joe America says:

          Haha, whistleblower . . . . Well, I don’t get it. There are so many reasons to do good, and feel good about it. What is the good feeling that these thieves get, I wonder? Power? The playing of others for fools? Greed and wealth and thousands of shoes in the closet? The gap between what Jesus taught and what man on earth is inclined to do is huge. I hope there is justice . . . both on earth and later . . .

        • edgar lores says:



          The Old Testament depicts an interventionist God. I have a feeling He has left us to our own devices. Yet for every “evil” person, thought or deed, there is a counterbalancing person, thought and deed. Or so I choose to believe.

          • BFD says:

            Ah, the counterbalancing power… you hit it on the nail, Edgar, and that is us, Pinoys wherever we are, even if it’s only one voice, one vote for everyone of us, that will be our counterbalancing power against those “evil” person.

            As for Justice, there will be, Joe, there will be… I am positive of that as every one of us here is…. if not here, I’m sure up there, there will be….

  16. bauwow says:

    Uncle Joe, I must say that Andrew Lim should contribute more to your blog. He asks thought provoking questions that helps us to check and examine ourselves in which side of the fence do we stand.

    I was taught that beside the door of charity, is the door of justice. One cannot have his cake and eat it too. For one to deserve mercy and compassion, taking the cue from the Act of Contrition, one must first confess to his sins, do penance and most importantly amend one’s life. It is not enough for a corrupt politician to just confess his sins on his deathbed and hope that it will be wiped away like a clean slate.

    • sonny says:

      I heartily second what you say about contrition and who deserves mercy and compassion and what you endorse about Andrew, bauwow. I might also suggest to add yourself in that endorsement.

      Having said this I would like to add that the Lord Jesus has already set in stone what he has to say about penitence and forgiveness and God’s love that follow these acts. One need only lovingly reflect on his parable of the Prodigal Son and listen to what he wants us to know and follow.

      The words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church serve also to repeat and make accessible to all people of contrite heart:

      1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart.25 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!”26 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:27 (1989)

      Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation, it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.28

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I absolutely agree. And other writers, too, to get fresh perspectives.

  17. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Andrew Lim’s article on Mercy-and-Compassion is now the talk of Inquirer columnists. Because they subscribe to

    • karl garcia says:

      o yes they do

    • Joe America says:

      Yeah, I wonder if the CBCP bishops are also plugged in.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      I would direct you guys to Kit Tatad’s Manila Times column today,

      So rich in irony and contradiction.

      I want to write a rejoinder to it, but that paper edits out comments contrary to their views, so maybe we’ll publish it here.

      • karl garcia says:

        Mr. Lim, please do so in this comment thread or another blog entry.

        • karl garcia says:

          Let me hear your opinion on his opinion about confession.

          • karl garcia says:

            of course as you said that with the advent of cloud technology, formatting your hard drive won’t erase everything so it brings us to eternal impregnation.

      • edgar lores says:

        The columnist does not really answer his own question, does he? He deflects. He basically says that the corrupt are not “real Catholics.”

        This begs several questions:

        1. How are “real Catholics” supposed to be identified?

        2. Why does the Church not penalize — excommunicate, interdict, or “decatholicize” — these people who are not real Catholics?

        3. Are errant clergy real Catholics?

        4. In not having fully confessed the details of clerical sexual abuse, is the Church itself a real Catholic?

        5. Is the columnist a real Catholic?

        Reading the dishonorable columnist, I feel like I have to take a long bath afterwards!


        P.S. For the first time, I am receiving messages that logging into this site is unsafe.

        • karl garcia says:

          unsafe like how? a malware warning or a google warning that the site is phishing…nothing on my end.

          • edgar lores says:

            When I log into WordPress, I get a message saying that the security certificate of this website is being directed to another website. And that my personal info might be compromised.

            If you’re not getting this message, Karl and others, then the “hacking” may be personally directed to me for my outre opinions?

            Gadzooks! Am I being a target of the hackers who support:

            a. Binay
            b. Vatican
            c. Radical Islam terrorists
            d. Incarcerated senators
            e. PDI columnists
            f. Various Supreme Court justices
            g. Cheney
            h. Purveyors of salted caramel icecream


        • Joe America says:

          Re’ “site unsafe” message, the site is an ordinary Word Press site, hosted by Word Press which hosts hundreds of thousands of other sites, so I can’t imagine how it can be unsafe unless Word Press has a major problem. I have no control over the technology. I would be interested if others are also receiving that flag.

          Regarding dishonorable columnists, thanks for the flag.

        • Bert says:

          There’s no warning here.

      • edgar lores says:

        Another rebuttal of this columnist’s arguments.

        In defending the sacrament of confession, he expounds (in the fourth paragraph) on the theory behind it. But everyone knows that theory and practice are different.

        As the great Yogi Berra said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Do it, andrew. Yup, my comment was also deleted (because it was offensive to the writer) a while back, so I just skim through their site now.

  18. karl garcia says:

    Will retroactive capital punishment lessen crimes? Until now I am still wondering. We keep on hearing the value of life not only from the roman catholics but from every religion and yet it is hard to name a neighboring country where drug trafficking is not punishable by death..

    We dont have any death penalty so the russians, the chinese,the mexicans, the columbians come here.

    • Joe America says:

      I was reading an article yesterday that, contrary to what we might expect, in the US maintaining a system of executing people is about 10 times as expensive as jailing felons for life. I suppose it all depends on how many are lined up for execution. Maybe there would be quantity discounts in the Philippines.

      • karl garcia says:

        maybe find a cheaper way like putting cotton on the nose or something.

        why the heck to they have to make it so expensive?

        • karl garcia says:

          before there was the guillotine,and its variants but it people do not want to blood much more a decapitated head,.
          that was the cheapest form of execution in history methinks.

          • Joe America says:

            An old car out back with a vacuum cleaner hose attached to the exhaust seems humane to me, and with the price of gas going down, might be efficient, too.

            • karl garcia says:

              yeah that would do. I don’t know with people, they don’t like blood yet they watch pro wrestling and the ufc and those chainsaw massacre movies.

    • karl garcia says:

      I forgot the Africans

  19. edgar lores says:

    I’ve rebooted and the first thing I notice Is that I have not been logged out of WordPress.

    I’ve logged out of WordPress, and will try to log back in again…

    Yep, I am getting the following message in the pop-up window that has a red padlock inscribed with an “X” at the top:

    “Your connection is not private

    “Attackers might be trying to steal your information from (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards). ”

    When I press the “Advance” button, I get:

    “This server could not prove that it is; its security certificate is from * This may be caused by a misconfiguration or an attacker intercepting your connection.

    “Proceed to (unsafe)


    I have gone around the problem by refilling by details rather than by pressing the WordPress icon.

    • Joe America says:

      It sounds like a browser translation error to me, or you are on a hack list. I’m guessing no one else is having the problem.

    • karl garcia says:

      so if this is malicious, anyone else?

      maybe it is one of those letters (a-i)

      seriously though, hacking is no joke ,,,,hope it is an isolated case.

    • Adrian says:

      Edgar, what browser are you using? I recommend you use Google Chrome. You may have installed (unintentionally) some malicious plugin on your browser.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Thanks, Adrian. My go to browser is Chrome. I’ve tried IE with the same malicious results. I’ve tried from my tablet with the same malicious results. So it’s not the browser nor the device. I suspect it’s my email address.

        Let me try another email address…

        • Edgar Lores says:

          No, did not get the message this time. So it must be my email address that is being targeted.

          • Adrian says:

            That’s interesting. WordPress may have a bug (0-day exploit) which is not yet known to the developers. I’m curious as to what they’re trying to do.. At first glance, I think, the worst that they’d be able to do is hijack your session with (ie. post something at using your identity).

            Really curious.. If I experience that, I’d install a proxy on my machine (ie. fiddler) and log their activities on my network. 🙂

  20. Adrian says:

    If this is satire, the guy who painted this is a genius.

    If I can paint, I’d include Erap, GMA, etc on the painting.

    • Joe America says:

      And in my neighborhood there would be a guy behind the bamboo getting ready to shoot the birds for dinner tonight.

    • Bert says:

      My guess is the Pope was an insertion to a pic of the original, Photoshopped.

    • Micha says:

      Nice Amorsolo trash.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      There was a very funny comment in Rappler re that painting -about the inappropriateness of the characters – Coco Martin portrayed gays several times, Dingdong’s wedding was extravagant and used several bishops, Gary V is a protestant, etc.

      But I also read somewhere the painter’s reply that it was his wife who thought of adding those characters, and it appears that it was added just as a whimsical thought.

      Wala lang. Just another Pinoy enamored of celebrities. If I was a kid, I’d like to see Iron Man, the hobbits and Tim Duncan added. ha ha ha

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I see Vilma Santos. Kris Aquino I can see. I do not know others because I do not watch TFC

    • edgar lores says:

      The message I get from the painting is: “These are showbiz folks.”

      If satire is intended, it may not be intentional at the conscious level.

  21. Micha says:

    There has been no contrition from the Marcoses until this day. What we’re seeing instead is blatant arrogance and continued profession of not having done anything wrong from the Imeldific. And the fact that most of them are back in the halls of power may have been the inspiration behind the equally despicable arrogance of thieving scumbugs like Junggoy Estrada.

  22. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    ARCHBISHOP TO FILIPINOS: “Come out and greet El Papa and be blessed!”

    If blessing is a reality why not start with Malacanang, Senate, Congressmen and the Cabinet !

  23. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “AFP Hospital Chief Sta Ana reinstated. Complaints unsubstantiated” – INQUIRER

    Shocking headline !!!! Never ever heard of SCANDAL IN AFP !!! The news came out when it was found out complains were “unsubstantiated”.

    Where is NAME-AND-SHAME? Are the guns mightier than the Pen of Inquirer?
    Why were there NAME-AND-SHAME on U.P.-graduates Gloria and the Binays? Why?

    Hello, Inquirer? Could you give me an explanation, please! Why you are doing this selectively? IT IS NO WONDER PHILIPPINE PRESS IS NOT WORTH Je Suis Charlie mourning ! Because they are worthless.

    When 52 journalists were Ampatuanized, THE WORLD DID NOT MOURN FOR THEM.

  24. The Pope needs to do a mass exorcism in the Philippines. We need the power of Christ to compel all the corrupt evil doers in all facet of the society. Mercy and compassion does not work. Let’s give exorcism a try.

    • Joe America says:

      That would probably work better than blogging.

    • edgar lores says:

      Apparently there’s no exact Tagalog word for compassion. (Refer to PDI columns in the last few days.)

      The online Tagalog dictionary translates compassion as pakikiramay. But we know that is condoling.

      Others have suggested “awa ng Diyos” (God’s mercy), “habag” (mercy), “pakikidalamhati” (heartbreak), and “pagdamay” (sympathy). I had the fleeting thought that “pakikisama” (fellowship) would work as well in the best sense of the word. In the worst sense, the word means “dealing”.

      I find it striking that mercy and compassion are the themes for the papal visit. Striking in the sense that they reveal something about the Filipino. These two terms are alike in that they express love, the first to a sinner and the second to a sufferer. If these two are the highest spiritual values of Christianity, then something is missing.

      In Buddhism, compassion and wisdom must go hand in hand. Compassion without wisdom produces a good-hearted fool. Intelligence without compassion produces a stone-hearted genius.

      What I wanted to say initially is that my rational mind would insist that not having a word for something means that that something is beyond our knowledge and experience. But that’s not true. I for one have states of feeling that are beyond words.

      Did someone just say, “O rise ye land of happy fools?”

      • Joe America says:

        I rather think that today the happy fools are in their element, in their prime, able to let those unspoken and perhaps unspeakable passions soar, the adulation that reflects back on the joyous. I dunno . . . I think it is all rather special and will observe the pageantry and wish Pope Francis well and partake of such wisdoms as he would choose to deliver. Today, I shall not judge, only watch, reach for a spiritual plane . . . unspoken and unspeakable . . . and admire the character of the Philippines and her people, one of a kind.

      • I think compassion is synonymous to empathy (pakikiisa). It is the feeling of being one with someone; of feeling what he/she feels and understanding where he/she is coming from. It is akin to the Buddhist’s “one with everything.”

        I think a lot of Filipinos have this trait. It is fellowship on a higher plane, one requiring extra-ordinary sensitivity.

        • edgar lores says:

          Pakikiisa is good. I was also thinking pakikikapwa. The first (oneness; togetherness; unity) is inner directed? The second (other-empathy; fellow-feeling) outer directed?

          In Buddhism, compassion embraces not only humans but all living beings.

          • karl garcia says:


          • Juana Pilipinas says:

            I. Isa = one. Oneness, togetherness and unity could be with any animate object. It is inner directed. Compassion is an individual’s benevolent reaction to an animate object’s state.

            II. Kapwa = other, fellow. Usually takes the form of fellow human being (kapwa tao). Excludes non-human animate objects. Could be inner or outer directed. It depends on the societal context and/or the individual reacting to the stimulus.

            III. Is compassion inner or outer directed? Could be either way. Factors involved are: individual’s state of mind, societal influences, nature of the stimulus/stimuli, to name a few.

            • edgar lores says:

              It’s strange. Compassion is considered to be the highest spiritual value in most religions. And yet there is no exact Tagalog term for it. There are many vernacular words that come close to it but they don’t seem to fit.

              Compassion is both inner and outer directed. But before it can be directed outward, it must first be directed inward. We must recognize our own suffering (or unease with the world) before we can recognize the suffering of others. It is in that recognition of fellow suffering that the desire to alleviate suffering arises. Compassion is composed of (a) “com” or “with” and (b) “passion” or “feeling”.

              • jolly cruz says:

                Unfortunately the Filipino masa are blind to the realization that a lack of compassion is the cause of all our suffering and inconvenience. Inconsiderate jeepney and bus drivers, cabbies, tricycle and sidecar drivers, vendors, pedestrians, so called leftists and many others cause the daily travails that the middle class have to go through.

                I believe that there is a lot of compassion in the middle class, but the masa who seem to care only about their own interests force the middle class to follow suit otherwise they will be overwhelmed by the masa’s behavior..

              • edgar lores says:


                Just from your two paragraphs there’s a hint of why we lack compassion. We have a hierarchical social structure and we tend to pigeonhole people according to their roles — drivers, pedestrians, vendors, masa, middle class and so forth. Correct me here if I am wrong but we automatically classify people as below us, above us or equals. We treat people below us with indifference, above us with fawning respect, and equals with camaraderie. We generally do not see people as equals and our initial impulse in dealing with people is never egalitarian politeness, consideration (as you point out) or kindness which are lesser forms and attributes of compassion.

                Here (in Oz) I take early daily walks, and everyone who I meet or who passes me by (because I am a slow gentle walker) greets me with “Good morning”, a wave or a smile. At the shop counters, transactions are completed over small talk. Of course, front people are trained to greet each customer with, “And how are you today?” But that question easily segues into the weather, the holiday, or anything else one can think of.

                Even our discussions in blogs tend to establish superiority over one another. It’s very rare that I have seen an apology or an admission of error. If you go over JoeAm’s oeuvre, you will find that he has issued an apology now and then (although he tries to browbeat impress the natives with Western-American superiority).

                Just as a further thought, the Christian concept of compassion does not extend to all beings, human and nonhuman, as it does in Buddhism. In this respect, I would say the Christian, and in particular the Catholic, concept is not entirely inclusive and is therefore limited. If we understand compassion to be charity, it usually extends to:

                o the poor (in possessions)
                o the lost (e.g. the lost sheep or the prodigal son)
                o the sinner within the fold

                It does not extend to:

                o the rich (who may be poor in spirit)
                o the middle class
                o the LBGT community (this is a present controversy. I do not accept the fake compassion shown by the Church)
                o people outside the fold (for Catholics, this would include non-Catholics, although Francis has made moves towards pluralism)

                At the personal level, as I have pointed out, we also are limited in our compassion by our conditioning within the hierarchical social structure.

              • Joe America says:

                Actually, I think I seldom apologize, but during the course of browbeating 🙂 , I do from time to time change my mind or admit to a mistake in thinking. That, in itself, is rare in these parts. If I hurt someone through a senseless act on my part, I would apologize for it. But I think error in debate is a matter of flawed knowledge, and one ought not apologize for being inadvertently ignorant. One should acknowledge the error and the new enlightenment and move on.

                I did apologize to my dog once when I ran over its paw with the car, and I frequently talk to flowers and encourage them to grow well. I actually like them a whole lot better than some people. I find my compassion runs most strongly toward the innocent.

              • edgar lores says:


                …toward the innocent… who suffer through no fault of their own? That may be the hardest part to understand about the world.

      • sonny says:

        ” … the highest spiritual values of Christianity, then something is missing.”

        I would suggest OBEDIENCE as the highest Christian spiritual value.
        (see Philippians, 2:8-9)

        • Joe America says:

          Ahhh, as per the discussion elsewhere, as to whether compassion is inward or outward oriented, I’d observe that obedience, too, is inward or outward oriented. Inward, it is called discipline. Outward, it is called . . . ummm . . . respect.

        • edgar lores says:

          We are all wrong? Wikipedia says there are two sets of Christian virtues:

          o Of the three theological virtues — Faith, Hope and Charity — it is Charity – or love (agape) – that is the greatest.

          o Of the four cardinal virtues — prudence, justice, temperance and courage — I do not know which is the greatest.

          Obedience would be Faith? Compassion would be Charity?

          • sonny says:

            On the contrary, Edgar, Obedience affirms all the virtues. It is the ultimate emptying of oneself and the surrender of one’s free will in favor of God’s will.

            “Our Father … Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

            • edgar lores says:


              That’s one point of view. Fortunately, Christianity allows different points of views.

              In truth, when you said obedience was the highest virtue, I shuddered. Why? Because obedience speaks of a master/servant mentality. Our Spanish colonizer would have given you an A+ for that. I am aware that I just made a disparaging remark, but I will leave it in for its social and historical value.

              I will concede there is internal Biblical evidence for your contention. The enduring image of Christians is that of a flock of sheep looked after by a shepherd. In Matthew 10:32-38, Jesus says, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He commands obedience to Him… by disobedience to kin.

              There is also contrary evidence. One may read the Adam/Eve allegory to be in support of obedience or of rebellion. If Adam and Eve had not rebelled, the gift of Free Will would have been for naught, and we would have been forever like unquestioning mindless sheep. Jesus himself was a rebel.

              I have spoken elsewhere of another interpretation of Christianity wherein God is not wholly external but internal as well. The concept of a purely external God who demands adoration, acclamation and obedience is totally foreign to me. He is God; why would he need adoration? Why would He need minions to complete Himself? But if God is within each of us then, yes, we can and should adore each other.

              The master/slave mentality — or rather leader/follower — may have been required in humanity’s long march and struggle towards enlightenment. Is there love in such a relationship? I would say yes, but it is a conditional love. The master says, “I will love you as long as you obey me.” And the slave says, “I will love you as long as you clothe me, feed me, and protect me.”

              But it is the outlier, the rebel, who has brought progress to mankind. The line extends from Prometheus (in myth), Jesus, Giordano, Galileo, Luther… and in our nation Lapulapu, Soliman, Silang, Rizal, Bonifacio, Aquino.

              This is the paradox at the heart of Jesus’ two greatest commandments: he commands love… but can true love be truly commanded?

              The eternal rebel in me says no. I know, and we should know, that love that is freely given — and is freely received — is of utmost delight.

              • sonny says:

                “… Is there love in such a relationship? I would say yes, but it is a conditional love. The master says, “I will love you as long as you obey me.” And the slave says, “I will love you as long as you clothe me, feed me, and protect me.” …”

                I do understand what you are saying, Edgar. I don’t believe God withholds his love because we disobey. He loves us whether we love him back or not. Neither does He want us to be slaves to him in order to obtain for ourselves the clothing, food and protection we need. Proof is the prosperity of those who choose to ignore or disavow Him. I’ve even come across a Jewish acquaintance say “I don’t have to believe in God as long I keep his commandments.”

                As Christians we are faced with this paradox: God is not diminished by our ungodliness nor is he increased by our holiness. But this He says: that it is to OUR eternal best interest that we love and obey Him. This is the harmony that He wants restored – so much so that the Second Person himself became man, taught, suffered and resurrected. Go figure. This is my homework, too.

                (I do appreciate your giving me an attentive ear.) 🙂

      • sonny says:

        “… Apparently there’s no exact Tagalog word for compassion.”

        I’d submit that no single word can contain mercy or compassion in the Tagalog register but rather all the above should be used in their own senses. Tagalog words are considered to belong to a high-context language, as English belongs to a low-context one. I would suggest “magpadama ng mabuting kalooban”

      • Adrian says:

        Compassion and wisdom – reminds me of the Tagalog word UNAWA.

  25. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Watch PBS “Secrets of the Vatican” in Netflix. Please! Please!
    Watch, listen and learn why Herr Ratzinger resigned
    Why this Pope Francis will be a failure.

    • He will not be a failure. He inherited a corrupt and deluded Curia. He is doing what he can to face and solve the Catholic hierarchies’ problems. As he often requests, let us pray for him. The Vatican ills are more complex than the malaise of the Philippine society. Pope Francis is brave for even wanting to be the head of a religion that has lost its luster, glory and credibility. Let us extend mercy and compassion to an earnest Pope who is putting a lot of efforts to save a discredited church.

      • Joe America says:

        Pope Francis is already a success. He has uprooted complacent priests and demolished the administrative mafia running the back room of the Vatican. He is earnest, he is good, he is steeped in faith. He has energized Catholicism. More power to him.

  26. edgar lores says:


    JoeAm: “JTWC, unfortunately, has the storm on track to hit Manila tomorrow. It seems to be following the Pope around the globe. I shall not hazard a guess as to what that really means.”

    I shall rush in where angels fear to tread.

    Clearly, the Devil is exercising his territorial imperative. He considers the country his personal domain. He has many minions in the Coconut Palace, in Congress, in the Judiciary, in the LGU’s from Ilocos Norte to Tacloban, and even in the churches.

    The Devil is doing his best to hijack the Pope’s mission. He has brought inclement weather. He is chasing Francis out of Tacloban and out of the country.

    (Do you know that there have been 14 popes named “Clement”? And three antipopes with the same name?)

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