The Pope and the Philippines

pope-francis-tagle-inquirer

Cardinal Tagle and Pope Francis [Source: Inquirer]

A few reflections on Pope Francis and the Philippines.

Summation: A triumph!

The big question: Will it have legs? That is, was it a showtime event, or an event with lasting significance?

The Pope is controversial in Rome on theological grounds (“Italian writer stirs a hornet’s nest . . .“). Theology means little in the Philippines. Star power means a lot, and this Pope rocks. When God gave out charisma, he assigned a large helping to Pope Francis and another healthy helping to Cardinal Tagle.

The Pope’s messages were traditional (“His Son died for us”) and particular (“the Philippines needs to address poverty, ignorance and corruption”). The messages were delivered in the fine rituals of the Catholic Church, occasionally topped off with papal raincoats, black cloaked security men standing just off to the side, and a video-documentarian giving us up close and personal shots of the Pope. I particularly liked one that panned back from his eyes to the whole of the man and his kingly entrapments in the grandstands of Luneta. Oh. . . . Trappings. Sorry. Freudian.

The drama of the day in Tacloban was riveting. Intense. Poignant. Joyful. Sad.

Four happenings during the Pope’s visit to the Philippines got a lot of people talking:

  • The President’s speech praising the Church and criticizing the Church. People only heard the critical part. A mind trained by tabloidian brainwashing tends toward that kind of synthesis of argument.
  • Cardinal Tagle’s stirring thank you at Luneta. This oration goes down as the most striking speech since Obama’s Democratic convention hallelujiah in 2004. The Cardinal was caring. Intelligent. Inclusive. Genuine. Even the Pope was uplifted. All I have is the text right now, but I’ll insert the video link if it becomes available. The text unfortunately lacks the Cardinal’s energy and personal joy.
  • The cheerleader after Luneta, whom I don’t really care about. The whole Luneta event was magnificent, he, but a bit player on a grand stage.
  • The death of a young worshiper in Tacloban caused by a collapsed structure. The tragedy punctuated the Pope’s message of suffering and his heartfelt, “we don’t know why, and can only answer with tears”. (My words, not his.)

Two huge events got little notice whatsoever:

  • How in the world all those policemen and military folk got to where they were supposed to be, thousands of them, calm, lightly armed, lined up as a kind and respectful human wall that kept the Pope safe. Congratulations to the rain-soaked, baby-wrapped, sleepless men and women of order for their efforts and successes. And to the organizers, the oft-maligned cabinet secretaries and their staffs, who broke the five days into 44 subordinate events and successfully executed every one of them. Even with changes in plans and times. Maybe we should recast our stereotype of the Philippines and put a measure of competence in there. Recognize it. Praise it. Ask for more.
  • The restraint of the crowd. Much of that was in respect of the Pope, I would imagine. Well, the feet showed restraint, the voices, none . . . as it should be. The blesser and the blessed kept switching places, crowd to Pope, Pope to crowd. Magnificent bonding.

Observations on some key players:

  • Pope Francis: The humanistic Pope, somber in ritual, positively lighting the place up with his smile. A thank you or an impromptu punch line, “be quiet”, expressing more light and love than all the professions or admonitions in the world. Dynamic in Spanish. Unintelligible and pedantic in English. Simple of thought. Huge of heart. My favorite moment, Manila Cathedral, the little loving pat on the cheek he gave a crippled nun after finishing his blessing of her. The little things say more than the big.
  • President Aquino: Other than his speech at the Palace, the President was diminished to irrelevance. There was a day when the President rode similar, if smaller, waves of adoration. But his followers have been ground to dust over five years of relentless criticism, and now he often seems to walk alone. Will his critics give him credit for standing, one of six million, in the rains of Luneta? No, of course not. “It was political”, they will say, able to read the President’s heart from their television screens.
  • Vice President Binay: obsequious (obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree; google) on three occasions. Bowing too low. Smiling too big. Received with reservation, almost coldness, by the Pope. We know, the Pope and Cardinal know, Binay knows. He is playing a Pope as he games a nation. Will it work? I think Binay was dealt a heavy blow where it hurts the most. No, not his ego. It is impenetrable. His base. The poor, the faithful.
  • Cardinal Tagle: A Pope in the making as the Vatican pivots to Asia. He is gifted intellectually, spiritually and charismatically. Perhaps he should dedicate his waiting time to developing administrative and . . . yes . . . political skills. He can do this by working to unify the Philippine Catholic Church along a common and consistent doctrinal line that makes the Church in the Philippines a constructive and relevant force. Right now he stands as an impotent bystander watching the shenanigans of the political bishops of the CBCP as they drive the Church to irrelevance. I don’t expect much change from them. Dense. (Addendum 1/20/2015: “Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Pope’s Filipino Host, Is A Humble Rising Star“, Huffington Post)

The Pope did his work well, in deed and intellect and heart.

He deserves praise.

The Philippine faithful did their work well, in deed and obedience and heart.

They deserve praise.

The governments, National and in Leyte, did their work well, organized, respectful, meaningful, and as safe as can be expected for such a huge and storm-wracked occasion.

They deserve thanks.

For myself, I would add a fourth takeaway from the CONTENT of the Pope’s remarks. In addition to the significance of poverty, ignorance and corruption, I would add the promise represented by the youth of the Philippines. Not just the children, but the young people, the young Catholics in this instance.

Will they be true to the faith, or will their faith get bent, as it has been bent for so many of the elders of Philippines? Will their moral grounding stay firm, or become corrupt?

It is crucial to the development of the Philippines, and the relevance of the Church.

Please feel free to share your takeaways from the visit.

 

Comments
64 Responses to “The Pope and the Philippines”
  1. karl garcia says:

    We.. ok many of of us enjoyed it while it lasted. again i just hope the scaffolding accident has to happen in Tacloban of all places.

    • karl garcia says:

      did i just say that? i meant if i hope it did not happen.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Will the contractor of scaffolding be investigated by OSHA? Or, by mere Christian Filipino officials? Will the family ever get an answer? Will they get excuses like Philippines got excuses for the past 500 years from the church? Whose fault was it? Was it Act-of-God? Was it shoddy workmanship? Was the scaffolding up to code, if any, which I doubt there is but Christian contractors cut corners to make money? Was it government contracted? Will the government prosecute?

      What if the contractor apply the “Act-of-God” defense? What happens then? The God will be put in the witness stand?

      Considering Filipinos addiction to “God-made-it-happen” “If-it-is-time-it-is-time”. “It-is-the-will-of-God”, therefore, no need of investigation. Else, they’d be asking God of his inutility.

  2. Attila says:


    Cardinal Tagle: A Pope in the making as the Vatican pivots to Asia”.

    I hope for a new Eastern European patriotic Pope like John Paul the II (Polish) who will fight for Christian Europe. According to Pope Francis Islam should not be criticized. Also he is pushing for Muslim immigration to Europe. This is crazy!

    Look at the example of Blessed Pope Innocent XI (1611-1689). He organized and financed the war on Muslim Ottoman Empire. He helped assembling a large army called the Holy League. Starting in the year of 1683. Vienna, Buda and Beograd were liberated because of the army that he created. If it wasn’t for him my country would still be Muslim and most of Europe may have been overtaken by Muslims. He was beatified for his contribution to Christianity. A Pope should be a fighter for Christian Europe, not a coward.and someone will push for Muslim immigration and protect Islam from criticism. A Pope that will protect the Christian character of Europe. To me this Pope is coward.

    • Joe America says:

      You like things well defined and, well . . . as you like them. The criticism of Francis is much as you express, from people upset that he has diverged from rigid doctrine about things like homosexuality and the view not antagonistic toward Muslims. I was reading today that he is roundly praised in the Muslim Community for his statements about the Mohammed cartoon incident, the gist of which is that people should not be mocked for their faith. That is rather anti-liberal,(in the American version) and it is not conservative Catholic, for a humanistic view that is in sync with Muslims.

      I’d say a Pope has a difficult row to hoe. Moreso even than the President of the Philippines. For he must deal with both corruption and the growing irrelevance of the Catholic Church around the world. How to you stop the slide toward irrelevance without changing, in gentle, humanistic ways? I sure don’t know. And I doubt that slinging labels like “coward” to the head of the Church accomplishes much, except harsh argument.

      It seems to me that Pope Francis has the courage to try to make the Church relevant again, and from there, to grow and perhaps then do what you would have done, today. By wish or dictate.

    • Steve says:

      I believe he said that faith should not be criticized, not that Islam should not be criticized. Still a quite absurd sentiment to my way of thinking, but perhaps not unexpected given his position.

      One expects a Pope to be an anachronistic relic; the position almost demands it… how else could one wear such a hat with a straight face? Asking for one who raises armies and marches off to war is perhaps just a wee bit too medieval. Shall we expect him to put up a stake and make lechon of a few Cathars or Waldensians as well?

      • Joe America says:

        Well, a happy face does not really work here, but your view does bring a bit of a dark and wry grin.

        • Attila says:

          I guess Eastern Europeans including Hungarians should just drop out of the EU so we can prevent Muslims dumped on us. Let Western Europe deal with them if that’s what they want. We will not want them back. 150 yrs of ISIS like terror and slavery gave us the right to reject them. They can go to Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Malaysia right? It is really upsetting to see the total lack of sensitivity for Hungarians and Eastern Europeans. This Pope is really a major embarrassment and all those who support and even push Muslim Immigration without any regards to us who suffered oppression in the name of Islam.

          • Joe America says:

            The “Muslim immigration” issue is high on the list of topics for governments across Europe, forced by non-Muslims who feel boxed into a corner. I think Pope Francis is not really a leader on the issue. It is just one more sticky issue he has to find balance on, and he goes to his humanitarian roots. Which you and others perceive as ineffective or dangerous. Thanks for making the point.

            • Attila says:

              He is a actively pushing for it despite the fact that most of the Immigrants are Muslim.
              http://www.sfgate.com/world/article/Pope-urges-Europe-to-open-its-arms-to-refugees-5917519.php

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, I did not know that. Thanks. I see where you are coming from now.

              • Attila says:

                When you read the article you notice his condescending language. Very typical of him. As there something wrong with Europeans. He doesn’t understand and he doesn’t care about Europe. It fits the narrative of those who want Europe to be more multicultural as a solution to it’s imagined problems. There is nothing wrong with Europe. They are barking at the wrong tree the wrong Continent the wrong countries. Watch this video of a Jewish activist who has a similar agenda. Now Sweden is struggling with the Muslim immigrant population. They have a huge problem with them and there is nothing wrong with the Swedes and their culture they are gentle open minded tolerant people and accusing them of anti this and anti that is just so wrong. Europe is under attack and the Pope took side with them.

  3. Bert says:

    “Vice President Binay: obsequious (obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree; google) on three occasions. Bowing too low. Smiling too big. Received with reservation, almost coldness, by the Pope. We know, the Pope and Cardinal know, Binay knows. He is playing a Pope as he games a nation. Will it work? I think Binay was dealt a heavy blow where it hurts the most. No, not his ego. It is impenetrable. His base. The poor, the faithful.”—Joe

    So true. Could be a fatal blow even, if utilized to the hilt by whoever it is that the administration field against Binay in 2016. And so, if only because of this I think that the Pope’s visit has yielded lasting significance to the fortune of this nation in having him at this critical period of our time.

    Can’t wait for the campaign period to start.

    • Joe America says:

      Yep. My poster is a big picture of Binay imposed over the hacienda and that quote from the Pope that corruption is the same as giving the children dirty bread.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Bert,

      Have to agree.

      1. If the only real accomplishment of the papal visit was to diminish Binay in the eyes of the nation and to jinx his run for the highest office, then it was worth it.

      2. Other than the political aspect and trying to quantify the religious aspect, my sense is that the other lasting significance of the visit was to solidify the Catholic identity of Filipino believers.

      2.1. I am not sure this is a good thing by, of and in itself.

      3. The basic question to me is: After all the hoopla, was there a basic transformation in the Filipino?

      3.1. Each will have his own answer. And Mariano has given his negative assessment.

      3.2. There was a connection definitely between the pope and the people. But does the connection extend all the way to Jesus?

      3.3. And there was pride in belonging to a denomination of immense age, legacy, pomp and numbers. But does the pride convert to the humility required for compassion?

      4. What would be some of the metrics by which we can measure Francis’ impact? Here are three:

      4.1. If the archbishops and bishops surrender their mansions and give all to the poor.
      4.2. If the street children disappear as they are gathered into charitable institutions or adopted into foster care.
      4.3. If Bong or Jinggoy fall on their knees, plead “Mea Culpa”, and beg for forgiveness.

      5. Francis has instituted some internal reforms mainly in the financial aspects of the Church and in the protocols for handling difficulties. Through personal example, he has brought an awareness of missing spirituality in the clergy where there was little or none. Most of all he has affected an attitudinal change, a kinder facade, in how the Church perceives and is perceived. As such, he has undoubtedly renewed the Faith of many and converted some to the Faith.

      5.1. But has Francis solved the great crisis confronting the Church?
      5.2. Has there been any change, substantial or otherwise, in dogma or doctrine?

      6. Because the answers to all the above questions (3.2, 3.3, 4, 5.1 and 5.2) are not yet in, I will withhold judgement. But because some answers are in the negative, I am not optimistic.
      *****

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        I am happy Binay is diminished. There are plenty of Filipinos waiting their turn … to the national coffers.

  4. Bing Garcia says:

    Reject corruption. Reject Binay.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Please have mercy and compassion. The Pope addressed the crooks in the Philippines: TOTUS TUUS “All Yours”, meaning, what they stole is theirs to keep.

      We are still the losers.

  5. Bravo, Joe! You have given credit where it is due and have been truthful where it counts.

    Cardinal Tagle should walk the talk and have a “come to Jesus” meeting (pun intended) with his subordinates especially those who have forgotten their vows of celibacy and poverty. He should invite Celdran to identify the culprits.

    • Joe America says:

      He should also have a come to Jesus moment about Binay, so he avoids further very awkward moments. I was also so dismayed that both Binay and President Aquino approached the Pope after the Luneta ceremony to thank him. I fault the President for playing to the powers of impunity.

    • jolly cruz says:

      Mr Joe as requested, I am re posting what i posted in your earlier blog :

      “My guess is that the people who went to see the Pope even for a momentary glimpse went not to show the strength of their faith but to savor and relish the atmosphere of deep holiness and godliness of the Pope.The stories of the current Pope’s humility,modesty, unpretentiousness and self effacement has made him a living example of Jesus, himself.

      The people want to imbibe the spiritualness that the Pope exudes. This explains the tears, the goose bumps and most specially the joy, that the people experience upon seeing him. It is a feeling that is difficult to describe but I am sure that it is not about faith. This explains why the reception today is so much different from those during the time of saint Pope John Paul II and Blassed Pope Paul VI. It is all about the Pope and the CBCP and the bishops have nothing to do with it.”

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    20 years ago, a Pope came to deliver a message from God, “TOTUS TUUS”. “Totally Yours”. Filipinos came out in droves. They lined the streets 10 feet deeper than Pasadena Rose Parade. Clasping rosaries. Mumbling prayers I cannot understand. When the Pope was paraded by in gilded chariot, they dropped to their knees.

    I asked, “Mama, the Philippines will be alright?”
    “Yes, Mariano, Philippines will be alright. The crooks are now scurrying away. The U.P.-produced homegrown communists will be vanquished”

    Three years later, Mama packed our meager belongings, $1,000 and a backpack. She whisked us out of the Philippines for better future in the land where prayers are not allowed in classrooms, porns are sold in newstands, in the land I cannot plant a crucifix and ten commandments in public places and the closest thing to prayers is a “moment of silence”.

    20 years later another Pope came. The same circus. Different message: Compassion and Mercy. The usual suspects with their rosaries. The crying. They reach out to touch the Pope with their extended hands like a salute of the Nazis to Hitler.

    I check Inquirer for news. No news! Seriously! The Pope was the ONLY NEWS! The Head-of-State of the Vatican toured the Philippines un-Presidented. Benigno Aquino did not escort The Pope. That is odd. Violation of diplomatic protocol for visiting Head-of-State.

    Well, maybe I have to wait another 20 years for me to see Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, echoes in an empty barn. Deja vu all over again, I’m sure. The one thing I hope for is the casting of the Pope’s words against the Binay campaign. That maybe it is the missing “connect” with the masses to break the hypnotic hold he has on them. If it makes a difference, then the Pope’s visit will have dramatically reshaped the Philippines.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        The Message of Pope Francis is have mercy and compassion to Binay Crime Family for they make the Filipinos poor to make them desperate for God’s intervention not thru ballots.

  7. dabawenya says:

    Well said JoeAm. Thanks for simplifying my thoughts for me. I’m a Filipino Catholic living in Sydney and I too was swept by the Francis Effect thanks to internet streaming. I have hopes that the Pope’s impact on the country during his visit will stick. Thank you Pope Francis for your wonderful messages. You’re a worthy personification of the living Christ.

    • Joe America says:

      It’s good of you to visit, dabawenya, and thanks for the kind words. I think you speak for . . . well, at least about 80% of all Filipinos with your appreciation for the Pope’s messages and his style..

      • matina52 says:

        Talking about the Pope’s messages, I remember clearly what he said about women: “Women have much to tell us in today’s society…Women are able to see things with different eyes than us. Women are able to ask questions that men can’t understand. … When the next pope comes, please have more women and girls among your numbers.”

        Is this an initial go-ahead for women priests? I think it’s a great segue for it. It’s about time we do have women priests.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, indeed. He will have to swim up a mighty strong river to get there, and I think maybe he is fighting too many other battles right now. But it was a clear signal, very different than the fundamentalist line.

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    That was the best reality show ever, because it was real!

    Bravo to the Long Blue Line of PNP cops! I rarely praise them, but on this one, they deserve it!

    If one does not feel moved by the homily in Tacloban or the crying girl asking why bad things happen to innocents, nothing else will!

    If all one can nitpick about is the Pnoy speech like the former Marcos and Arroyo writers, then we gift them with silence and consign them to obsolescence and irrelevance!

    Joe, I like Tagle’s allegory of Filipinos as the “heirs giving back to Europe” the legacy of faith they received from the latter.

    http://www.rappler.com/specials/pope-francis-ph/81260-filipinos-missionary-faith-europe

    • Joe America says:

      That was indeed a profound statement from Pope Francis, that Filipino faith is a vocation. And, indeed, it was quite a presentation, for the reality and risks and tragedies dealt with. And hard work by so many. Indeed, praise is due.

      Thank’s for the link.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Andrew, the PNP has more trust in the head-of-state and the church from the Vatican than Benigno Aquino. I suggest the next President of the Philippines should be a bishop. Tagle perhaps?

  9. manuel buencamino says:

    “Other than his speech at the Palace, the President was diminished to irrelevance.” Other than when he received the Pope in Malacañan, I think the President did right by stepping aside and leaving center stage to the Pope, afterall it was a pastoral not a State Visit. He stayed in he background as he should have but he spared no effort or expense to ensure the safety and convenience of the Pope. A trapo would have tried to share the stage at the very least and the most to steal the show. The president remained discreetly off stage.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, thank’s for the observation. Yes, it takes an honorable man to allow another his place on the stage. In retrospect, I could have expressed that better in the blog.

    • matina52 says:

      I agree. To me Noynoy just won some brownie points for it.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Head-of-State Pope Francis visit was to cleanse sullied spirits of the Filipinos that mere Aquino cannot top off. Pope Francis is to spirit. Benigno Aquino is to mortals.

    • chit navarro says:

      Yes, I agree wholeheartedly on your observation.

      And the humility the President has shown by staying under the rain, like everybody else, together with his family. Only an honorable person can do that. Honoring God and his Vicar on Earth first and foremost. And as you said at the start “It’s political” – I almost puke when I heard that background comment (RTVM streaming) a voice saying “sa ulan din siya uupo? dapat lang!”…. how rude and mean one can be!

      And as for Binay, yes – what a cold reception from the Holy Father. In great contrast to the warmth and the animated smiles for the President and the rest of his cabinet members. At the welcoming reception in Villamor, Binay seemed all alone as the President was surrounded by his cabinet.

      Transformation does not happen overnight. It would take a long time to gauge the effects, if any, on the Filipino people this pastoral visit of the Holy Father. My fervent hope? I wish media would stop bashing the President on his Malacanang speech because it is not in line with being “hospitable, etc.” Hospitable to the “corrupt & double-faced clergy? It is the truth and truth hurts where and however it is said.

      Mercy and compassion to whom who works tirelessly to uplift our country.

  10. Steve says:

    I was personally disappointed that he did not challenge the CBCP more openly or directly. I can’t say I expected him to do that, but his remarks to and about the Roman Curia raised some hope. Seems to me that his remarks on the wider political sphere are unlikely to have any lasting impact. He might have made some progress in cleaning up the Augean Stable that is the Philippine Catholic hierarchy, and some cleaning of his own house might have made the message on the broader political front a bit more relevant… but the effort was not made, and in my eyes his stature has dropped a notch.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, yes. He might of done that by thanking the President for his concern for the well-being of the Church in the Philippines. President Aquino rather did the heaving lifting on that point, and bore criticism once again for doing so. Obviously, the Pope’s weighing in on the matter might have gotten a listen. But even he, I think, would be speaking largely to deaf ears. Gahi ulo bishops.

  11. well said, especially your challenging question for the youth of this country: “Will they be true to the faith, or will their faith get bent, as it has been bent for so many elders of Philippines? Will their moral grounding stay firm, or become corrupt?” The Catholic Church must also address this so that the youth of today would become potent instrument of empowerment and development of this country in the future. The Church may revisit its indispensable role on this regard.

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    So, after all is said and done FILIPINOS AFTER ALL ARE CAPABLE OF OBEDIENCE AND ORDER. Was it a miracle? Was it respect? Was it due to fanatically Roman Catholic/Christian Philippine media’s self-censorship of Vatican scandals that Filipinos do not know about it? Let us snap out of it. Let us get back to business as usual … let overpricing begin …

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      The Filipinos has shown to the world that WE ARE GOVERNABLE FOR A DAY.

      • bauwow says:

        Aww cmon MRP give us a break, we were governable for 5 days! 🙂
        Pope Francis personally summoned Mar Roxas to personally thank him for doing a wonderful job. Now if only Filipinos can appreciate the fact that he really did a great job!

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Ooops! I stand corrected, FIVE DAYS! Mar Roxas did a wonderful job? Really? Now, let us try this one more time without Pope Francis around. Can Mar Roxas do a wonderful miraculous job again? I DO NOT THINK SO.

          Mar Roxas fleeting success not because of him. It was because the people respect Pope Francis by extension not Mar Roxas. I bet Mar Roxas cannot do another 5-DAY MIRACLE.

          So, let us not thank Mar Roxas. Thank Pope Francis.

          • Joe America says:

            Although I agree with your assessment, that respect for the Pope had people on their best behavior, it was amazing to me to see all those neatly attired officers lined up and following instruction, facing out, observant, calm but aware, and not being a part in the play itself. The logistics were carried out extraordinarily well, 44 separate events, and it is worth noting that the parceling out of the Luneta crowd for proper control and management will become standard procedure for future events at that facility. Plus, I just know that Mar got a big Hug from Korina who was undoubtedly pleased with her man. C’mon, Mariano. It won’t hurt your credibility to give the guy just a little credit. YOU don’t have to give him a kiss, after all. haha

  13. chit navarro says:

    “And finally, there is the challenge for the poor, to love the poor, with your bishops. Do you think of the poor? Do you feel with the poor? Do you do something for the poor? Do you ask the poor to give you the wisdom they have?”

    Pope Francis, his final message, in his encounter with the Youth at UST. I am sure the BISHOPS & THE CLERGY / PRIESTS are overlooking their being mentioned here. But I am sure the Holy Father really threw this chal;lenge to the BISHOPS:
    BISHOPS – DO YOU LOVE THE POOR?
    – DO YOU FEEL WITH THE POOR?
    – DO YOU DO SOMETHING FOR THE POOR?
    – DO YOU ASK THE POOR TO GIVE YOU THE WISDOM THEY HAVE?

    Unfortunately for some or more of these bishops, they do not know how it is to be poor. They do not give to the poor – instead, they take from the poor the small amount they have and call it “tithes”…just like politicians.

    Now, who is the greater thief as President Aquino posed the question in his opening speech in Malacanang?

  14. karl garcia says:

    no national security nightmare, no riots,no stampedes, no terrorists. the only killjoy is the sm group, after hosting the pope at moa they cut the pine tees in the wee hours of the night and gave us another reason to weep. (if you are a resident of baguio, you will surely weep)

  15. Micha says:

    Apparently the pope had seen for himself that Catholics in the Philippines are “multiplying like rabbits”.

    “Pope Francis needs to confess the sin he is guilty of, along with his brother bishops in the Catholic hierarchy — that of being a gatekeeper who stops people from making responsible decisions about sex,”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/21/world/europe/pope-francis-amuses-and-insults-with-remark-on-parenting.html

    • Joe America says:

      He believes in personal responsibility, which was the context of his comment about not multiplying like rabbits. I find his view refreshing but I don’t know how such responsibility is instilled in those with no means, and who find kids eventually pay back a return on the investment through their labors, allowing the old and poor to subsist. However, on the other end of the “rabbits” spectrum, the Pope does not support artificial birth control.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        One has to ask the question, “Quo vadis, Catholic Church?”

        Francis is voicing commonsensical sentiments that can be interpreted as contra Church doctrine, which leaves people like Sotto and, I am sure, Filipino bishops befuddled.

        He is, in effect, subverting Church doctrine. Unless doctrine is changed, I can see two ramifications:

        1. He is encouraging believers to become cafeteria Catholics.
        2. He is undermining traditional Church authority.

        The consequent paradox is that intelligent believers will have renewed faith in the Church (as represented by Francis) but conservative believers (like Sotto) and clergy will wonder at the loss of doctrinal certitude.
        *****

  16. marky says:

    I once saw in FB a picture of Cardinal Tagle wearing a statement shirt ‘wag kang magnakaw’. I think the pope was briefed well enough on Binay, with that I assure you the pope did received the VP with much reservation- much courtesy that he can master- God bless him.

    • Joe America says:

      Pope Francis indeed handled the situation well. However, that the situation occurred at all is a condemnation of both the Church (for not condemning Binay) and the National Government (for not doing anything about an ethical situation that stains the government each day the Vice President is allowed to continue to serve . . . or, rather, campaign, on public funds . . .). That one photo brings together all the weaknesses of Church and State in one simple statement. We have really low standards.

      • marky says:

        By now I think we should not leave the ‘handling’ of the binay situation to our elected pols or our state minded church. I think common people- the silent majority should step up, do something, and make these public figures realize that the abuse of power and people’s wealth of the binays are too much and that they can’t be allowed to continue ‘public service’.

        I’m reminded of Edsa in 86. There are only 2 types of people who went out- those who sincerly love this nation and can’t stomach the marcos abuse of power, they were not there for future position in government or rewards, they were just there because they love this country. To this day, a number of them are still alive, fuming mad in the inability of this generation to discern truth from lies, to be easily swayed by Binay’s masa approach.
        The 2nd type of people- those who are opportunists who are squeaky smart and have their own personal agenda- this is where binay and a number of other personalities still lingering around the corridors of power belongs.

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