There is something about the Philippines that sets it apart from the rest of our progressive neighbors like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. The Philippines holds claim to the title “the only Christian nation in Asia” and yet ironically ranks among the worst in the list of those most infested with corruption and crime to the very core of their national psyche. To identify the root cause of Pinoy dysfunction, one only needs to notice a consistent pattern: the strong link between the Spanish brand of Catholicism which we share with many Latin American countries and the pervasive socio-economic ills that plague such nations. Combine Spanish Catholicism with hot-humid tropical weather and presto: you get a narco-state banana republic filled with crime, corruption and zombies multiplying like rabbits, a sure-fire recipe for a failed society.
It’s indeed sad to see how Elon Musk’s SpaceX is already laying out the plans to conquer and colonize Mars using their BFRs, while we are still here stuck in the “Middle Ages” grappling with the struggle to conquer our negative traits and Pinoy cultural dysfunction. At this point we all need to take a long deep breath and in unison belch out one big “Sigh…”
Questioning your religion
It’s not wrong to question the faith you grew up in. In fact, testing the veracity of claims and the relevance of certain practices can filter out the false and useless human inventions from the truth and pure essentials. All it takes is the application of common sense. It involves using one’s brain to augment your faith. Take for example the practice of confessing sins before priests and praying to Mama Mary as a bridge to God; if the author of Christianity specifically instructed followers to confess and pray directly to God, why do Catholics practice these outright violations to the principles clearly laid out in their scriptures?
Christianity is a very simple religion which involves belief in the truth and showing basic loving care for one’s neighbor. Yet through the centuries, men have invented loads of baggage – beliefs, practices and traditions to make this simple faith far more complex than it really should. There are just two ordinances that the Christ introduced: the Lord’s Supper and water baptism, but clergymen through the ages thought it was a great idea to add truckloads more.
Padre Damaso and Maria Clara
Jose Rizal in his seminal literary work Noli Me Tangere accurately pinpointed one crucial and primary root of corruption back in the days of Spanish colonization: the dysfunction represented by the character Padre Damaso – a Catholic priest who had some illegal sexual relations that brought forth an unintended offspring, Maria Clara.
Here we see something gravely disturbing about priests having illicit relations which result in children who suffer the consequences. A priest who should be leading an example of moral uprightness and teaching the ways of truth and righteousness becomes the prime violator of proper marital laws and will need to play the hypocrite compounded by lies to cover up the said immoral act/behavior. Sadly, many of these children of priests grow up without a proper father figure and without a normal family with parents and siblings.
Pinoy dysfunction and unwed priests
Here lies the nexus between Pinoy dysfunction and Catholicism. The fact that priests are forbidden to marry and barred from leading a normal healthy family life is the key to unravelling the root of social dysfunction in the Philippine. The Catholic priesthood holds sway over the masses as they basically “program” captive audiences from their podiums – from the least to the greatest, from the lowly house-help bhoy and katulong to the elite VIP politicians and business owners. Priests serve as the society’s moral compass, and what they say up in the pulpit during mass is rendered gospel truth and defines how the rest of the population behaves.
If the priest is corrupt, the fathers in homes will be corrupt. If the priests enter into extra-marital affairs, married couples will follow suit.
Now since priests in their mandatory vow of celibacy are not allowed to marry, how will they satisfy the basic human need of a romantic relationship? (Note: a lady I know once confided about how a young priest had wanted to court her, and how people around began to find things turning awkward.) Sex along with food, water, air, clothing and shelter is essential to human existence and survival. Where do priests get feeding when they “feel the urge” so to speak? That is why we end up with pregnant nuns trying to undo their shame by undergoing abortions; that’s why you have priests entering into pornography, pedophilia and homosexuality when no one is looking.
This may be why many Catholics I know have no qualms about lying, cheating or stealing. They see no reason not to when their role models are priests who (everyone knows) lie and cheat to cover up their hidden immoral lives and who greedily amass vast amounts of wealth as evidenced by their tax-free parish estates while they preach “the blessedness of being poor”. Everyone can see through the hypocrisy; it’s all just a show – just like how Yellows in sheep-like white clothing line up praying at VIP pews reserved for them in a chapel with media lapping up their yellow ooze.
Why unwed priests cannot be authorities in basic social affairs (marriage and family)
A strong marriage and a healthy family bring about functional children and a responsible society. If the basic unit of society is broken, all sorts of problems and symptoms arise – drugs, teenage pregnancies, out-of-school youth, and a people who turn to crime for failure to getting accepted into decent jobs.
How can a priest who has no personal first-hand experience in marriage and child rearing be expected to impart crucial wisdom to the rest of the lame-brained masses who look up to him for counseling, advice and general direction for decisions in these areas? Where else do people get education for topics such as love, courtship and marriage? How does he admonish a poor farmer on balancing family size with income/expenses if he doesn’t have no freakin’ clue?
The religious sector is expected to fill in the gaps for things we don’t learn from regular secular schooling. But somehow Filipinos have the propensity of fielding people in seats of responsibility who are in no position to be there. Just look at the mess in Senate halls these days – how Trillanes and Hontiveros have been installed as “top lawmakers” of the land but are blatantly ignorant of basic laws on bank privacy and wiretapping in their rabid attacks on the present administration.
Some say that you don’t have to be a former cancer patient to treat cancer; and to extend the same principle: you don’t need to be married to do basic counseling on marriage. But there’s something wrong about applying that analogy to the case of priests being considered fit to be “credible” leaders and models for fathers, mothers and children who attend their mass. A romantic love relationship, family planning or child discipline/rearing is not a disease. It is not something that needs to be treated, but rather involves a social/management role to be lived out that is best learned from PEOPLE WITH EXPERIENCE.
Declaring “Marital Law” in the Catholic clergy
Priests and nuns should be allowed access to the right of having marital laws applied to their lives. Ideally, a priest and a nun should be married as they make a perfect partnership in their common burden and direction in ministry. They should be declared free of their celibacy vows as these are outright heretical practices. It is time to annul these vows, and make them void. The founding apostles of the Christian faith had wives and families of their own. Peter, whom Catholics claim to be their first pope, was a married man. Paul spoke against the heresy of “forbidding to marry” – being a doctrine of apostates. Let’s just face the truth: celibacy of priests is a scheme to keep the church’s wealth intact. (It’s always been about the MONEY right?)
Bong Saquing (CCF) and Francis Chan (Crazy love) are not unwed priests; so when they talk about matters of marriage and family, they can relate more to ordinary couples and parents who day in day out have to deal with family-related realities. This is why many Catholics are flocking to Christian groups outside traditional Catholicism for spiritual feeding. Unless priests are allowed to become credible authorities in the area of normal human relationships (marriage and parenthood), Filipinos who adhere to the Catholic religious faith will perpetuate the dysfunction and religious corruption that Rizal exposed in his novels.
Rather than meddling with state affairs and crying out in protest against Duterte’s declaration of martial law in ever dwindling Yellow activist rallies, Catholic priests and nuns should just fight for their basic rights and demand the declaration of “marital law” for the clergy in church. Considering their enormous influence, they of all people should have first-hand insight into socioeconomic reality by living as normal married human beings raising kids of their own. Likely then will we see order and functionality trickling down to the rest of Philippine society – marriages, families and children, who form the backbone of every institution in the country.
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