The CBCP’s fake idea that the poor are “blessed” is the reason the Philippines remains poor

To Filipinos, rich people are “evil” and a life focused on the acquisition of money is a life to be ashamed of. And so there really is no reason to continue wondering why Filipinos remain an impoverished people today. The very idea of aspiring to be rich seems, to Filipinos, to be a thought to be purged from their minds.

Rather, Filipinos justify their poverty using the very Catholic idea that to be poor is to be “blessed” before the eyes of God. Indeed, if I were to choose one fake idea ingrained by the Roman Catholic Church in the mind of the Filipino that did the biggest damage to their psyche, it would be that one. Unfortunately for Filipinos, such wealth-destroying ideas continue to be peddled by their Roman Catholic Church. Filipinos are subject to a constant bombardment of poverty-blessedness drivel everywhere they tune their eardrums and plant their eyeballs — in the Catholic masses they troop to every Sunday, the telenovelas and Filipino films they are addicted to, and the victim-heroes their “activists” and politicians put up for worship.

The irony that seems to fly above the heads of Filipinos’ poverty-worshipping and wealth-demonising “activists” and politicians is that it is the highly-focused pursuit of capital accumulation (a.k.a. wealth creation) that enabled human civilisation to build the very devices and Web services that allow them to Tweet and Share their poverty porn. Contrary to popular belief, Silicon Valley’s titans are no latte-sipping liberals whose idea of “making a difference” in the world is sitting in a Starbucks café waxing poetic about “world peace” and sending relief goods to war refugees. Bill Gates wanted to dominate our desktop PCs with his software, Steve Jobs wanted to make computers that appeal to affluent artsy people, Zuck wanted to pickup chicks on the Internet, Jack Dorsey wanted to build a Facebook-killer people could use from their mobile phones, and Sergey Brin sought to organise humanity’s collective knowledge into a giant database.

In case I missed some kind of Catholic pastoral letter on the subject, I really can’t see what is so “evil” about what these five brilliant — and mega-rich — human beings did.

Indeed, as much as Filipinos would like to attribute everything that is wrong with their society to the “evil” devices of 16th-Century Imperial Spain, it was Spain’s pursuit of gold that brought their ships to the beaches of Cebu and the building of the city of Vigan (among other architectural wonders) that Filipinos now put up as the “pride” of “their” tourism industry. Perhaps, in some fairness to the Catholic Church, there is some evidence that the Spanish conquistadores found the natives of the islands in pretty much the same state as the way Filipinos are even today in 21st Century Philippines.

In his Inquirer column, Ambeth Ocampo writes how painfully-relevant the observations made by the Spaniards on the natives they found in the Philippines are to this day…

When I was a student, everything bad in our character was blamed on the colonial experience: on Spain, the United States and Japan. Reading Legazpi made me wonder if we had always been the way we are:

“These people declare war among themselves at the slightest provocation, or with none whatever. All those who have not made a treaty of peace with them, or drawn blood with them, are considered as enemies. Privateering and robbery have a natural attraction for them. Whenever the occasion presents itself, they rob one another, even if they be neighbors or relatives; and when they see and meet one another in the open fields at nightfall, they rob and seize one another. Many times it happens that half of a community is at peace with half of a neighboring community, while the other halves are at war. They assault and seize one another; nor do they have any order or arrangement in anything. All their skill is employed in setting ambuscades and laying snares to seize and capture one another, and they always try to attack with safety and advantage to themselves.”

To some degree this revelation that Filipinos already possessed the Poor DNA before the “evil” Spaniards arrived absolves the Roman Catholic Church of some accountability for why Filipinos are imprisoned by impoverished thinking today. But armed with all this hindsight that guys like Ocampo are kind enough to share with us today, there really is no excusing the Catholic Church and its henchmen in the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) continuing to propagate its brain-damaging fake ideas today.

There is much to be done. As the old cliché goes, you gotta think rich to become rich. Filipinos need to purge their culture of memetic relics that contribute to impoverished thinking — that money and rich people are “evil”, that wealth is more a result of swerte (“luck”) than of hard work and clever ideas, that complex ideas articulated in English cause “nosebleed”, and, of course, the old Catholic notion that the poor are “blessed”. There is nothing “blessed” about being poor. Being poor sucks. As Mae West was said to have said: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and rich is better.” To be fair, Filipinos who, as a people, have never been rich probably wouldn’t get it. Yet.


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10 Comments on "The CBCP’s fake idea that the poor are “blessed” is the reason the Philippines remains poor"

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Actually what Jesus said was “Blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT”… which means a rich person can still be poor in spirit and a materially poor person not necessarily poor in spirit.


I’d watched this video when BBC Anchorman Stephen Sackur interviewed the Manila Archbishop Cardinal Tagle and his answers are really contradicts to the true & genuine changes & development in our country. And the irony of it, and truly this really reflects the legacy of the Spanish colonialism in our country that our Catholic Church is truly the king… or I mean, the DICTATORS & BRAINWASHERS of our country.

Ross Galán
“Blessed are the poor for they will inherit the Kingdom…” This is what the Church, the Catholic Church NOW doing to Her faithfuls all around the Christian world, and the Philippine people are one of them – they remain to be poor. This limitting belief, is to be “poor” and they believe it. No wonder they remain so up this day. The Bible is infested by limitting beliefs and this being “poor” is one of them. Filipino and other Christians all over the world never question WITH respect the veracity of many of the beliefs handed down to them. I… Read more »
Juan Bonifacio
by George Sison Christianity emphasizes constantly that God loves the poor. It has come to a point that seems to imply that God does not appreciate the rich as much. I do not know whether this was done deliberately by the Church or was adopted for convenience from the writings of philosophers who proclaimed that religion was really the opium of the poor. The Church often quotes one of the beatitudes that says, “Blessed are the poor… for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In my young student days at the Ateneo, I used to feel much guilt about the… Read more »

What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases it’s simply a lack of belief. In order to become rich, you must believe you can do it, and you must take the actions necessary to achieve your goal.

Organized religions, promotes false religious dogmas and teachings, that imprison the mindset of their followers. Poor people are “blessed” by God…so, we remain poor . The Spanish Conquistadors, were accompanied by Spanish Friars, during their conquest in the Americas. They looted the treasures, golds and silvers of the : Mayas, the Incas, the Aztecs, etc… Then, they taught the conquered people, to be poor and blessed by God. The Spanish Conquerors and the Roman Catholic Church, become rich by looting gold and silvers, of conquered/Christianized people…. The conquered people become poor, are then : “Blessed” by God, they taught… They… Read more »
Isn’t it interesting, lots of trouble created by a misquote? Similar to that “money is the root of evil,” when it should be “the love of money is the root of evil.” It’s been said, misinformation is one of the greatest weapons. On the other hand, when it comes to information that’s reliable, those gems from Ambeth Ocampo are priceless. His writings support the point we’ve been making in GRP since the start: the Filipino is his own worst enemy. Well, as Ocampo himself guessed, either he or Legazpi would be the subject of people calling them “trolls” and blaming… Read more »
Must live in a different country because all around here are people pretending not to want money, but in reality seething with jealousy over anyone who has even a small amount (a few drinks loosens tongues). Pretending cos the reality of such a massively failed society means the vast majority can never have it, bar stealing or cheating their way into it – so that happens a lot of course. And if they can’t take it by any means (generally without actually earning it, so less effort to pinch someone elses hard-earned), they absolutely don’t want others to have it… Read more »
Inna Pimentel

Clearly, you misunderstand the Church’s teachings. It means -blessed are you who choose detachment from material wealth; Happy are you who’s happiness is not dictated by your desire for money or material things. You may find answers to your confusion from Bishop Rpbert Barron’s Catholicism series – episode on The Beatitudes. It will give you freedom…and peace in your heart.

Josemaria Martin
Juan Bonifacio: George Sison is a LP Supporter. Just Saying. Without the Catholic Church we cannot do the following habits: 1) Stop going to universities. Did you know that the university was a Catholic concept? In fact, the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest university, received authority to run its operations from a Catholic monarch in 1158. Since then, the Roman Catholic Church has become a focal point in the development of the university in the Old World, and it transcended overseas. Università di Bologna. Here in Filipinas, the oldest university can be found in —where else?— Spain, hehehe! Anyway,… Read more »