Why can’t Filipino Catholics worship in private? A review of the Catholic practice in the Philippines

It has become a social disease at a national scale. Self-righteous cliques within the Philippines’ chattering classes have turned piety selfies into the latest fad. Thanks to the recent critical statements Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had made against the powerful Roman Catholic Church, this has been observed most markedly amongst the “thought leaders” of the Philippine Opposition led by the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards). This, of course, is a boon to the Philippines’ Catholic clergy led by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which had, for some time, been seeing its once formidable ascendancy in Philippine society on a progressive spiral to irrelevance.

To be fair, grandstanding one’s piety has long been a Filipino thing. Catholic Sunday masses in the Philippines and around the world where Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW) accumulate are packed with Filipino worshipers dressed in their Sunday best. Government proceedings are often started and ended with a Catholic prayer despite the country being host to many religious denominations and, at least on paper, claims to be a secular society.

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Most disturbing of all, the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world (the other being the Vatican City) where divorce remains illegal. Progressive and “liberal” Filipinos may blame successive governments for a supposed “failure” to implement legislation to change this bizarre fact, but, ultimately, responsibility for maintaining this primtive status quo can be traced to the Philippines’ Catholic leadership. In this, alone, one can already get a strong sense of just how powerful a grip the Roman Catholic Church has on the Filipino mind.

Under the Roman Catholic Church, the Philippines is essentially a monarchy ruled by Roman overlords. And this is not in the same sense as those modern monarchies in Europe and Japan. In the Philippines, the local governor generals appointed from Città del Vaticano actually do wield political power. This is evident in how even Philippine presidents kneel to kiss the ring of Filipino Cardinals and visiting popes. Not even Duterte is exempt from this baffling practice.

The Catholic Church, indeed, stands in the way of the Philippines’ true and authentic progressive effort to modernise and transform into a real thinking society. Catholic dogma and its teachings are convoluted and have defied centuries of effort to establish logical coherence across its doctrines. Therefore, as a foundation for coherent thinking, Catholic dogma and the manner with which it is shoved down Filipinos’ throats is the single biggest roadblock to the dawn of enlightenment in Philippine society.

Instead of the minority communities of truly enlightened Filipinos getting their ideas the proper air time, it is the hopelessly confused lot of self-appointed “thought leaders” with Catholic-addled minds who infest the political discourse with their shrill and inconsistent drivel. It is easy to see that the Philippine Opposition is currently in bed with a motley array of groups that each hold conflicted world views. “Liberals” who worship Western European schools of thought hobnob with nuns dressed in habits. Catholic priests march side-by-side with Filipino communists who are supposedly atheist and are advocates of the use of violence and terrorism to achieve their “revolutionary” ends. Even the Philippines’ “atheist” communities have compromised on their own atheism for the sake of the elusive “unity” in opposition to Duterte that this lot aspire to achieve.

Small surprise, then, that “unity” has so far remained a pipe dream for the Philippine Opposition. It will not happen under the leadership of the Yellowtards and, most important of all to come to terms with, it will not happen as long as the Catholic Church confuses the hell out of them with their medieval philosophies.

The Roman Empire still exists as far as Filipinos and their leaders are concerned.

If there is one big common denominator across the Philippines’ vast portfolio of failed socio-cultural initiatives, it is none other than the Philippines’ Roman Catholic Church. The country has overpopulated itself beyond all hope of redemption thanks to the Church’s blockage of vital and sensible population control measures. It has elevated poverty to a pedestal it hardly deserves and, as a result, has ingrained a profound sense of entitlement amongst the Philippines’ impoverished masses. Ending dysfunctional marriages is way beyond the reach of the majority of Filipinos thanks to the enormous cost of undertaking an “annulment” which is another one of those nonsensical notions Filipinos are subject to thanks to the edicts of their Roman overlords.

On that last one (by no means the last in a long list of social failures that can be traced to the Church) is the confronting fact that the officers of this Church, the bishiops and cardinals of the CBCP, defer to the rule of Rome over and above that of the Philippine government. This treachery is made even more evident by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church operates virtually tax-free in the Philippines and remits a huge chunk of Filipinos’ tithes to it to Rome. Where is the outrage over this insidious imperialism Filipinos are subject to? There is none, because Filipinos continue to wilfully submit to the emotional blackmail that is the Catholic dogma disseminated to them via the Sunday masses they flock to. When will Filipinos snap out of this Roman spell? That is the million dollar question.

31 Replies to “Why can’t Filipino Catholics worship in private? A review of the Catholic practice in the Philippines”

  1. You wish! Filipinos will continuously lining up to the Church for masses because that is part of their irrevocable faith. I don’t see only poor and uneducated flocking the church. I see even those professionals, intelligent and rich flocking the same. Hence, this faith does not discriminate only to certain classes of people. They have freedom to choose whether to go or not. It is up to the person. The Church won’t force them anyway.

    Filipinos will not give up this practice. They are loving and caring people in nature. Filipinos will be Filipinos. We are not the same as those other races. So yeah, Filipinos will remain the same. Don’t expect or even hope they will change.

    Duterte hurt the sensitive feelings of the believers. He was like insulting the family members of those who believe. He is presumed to know better than other people. It is written in 1987 Constitution that there is freedom to practice religion. It is mandated there to respect one’s belief. Even those who don’t believe are included. Thus, Duterte forgot his being a “lawyer” who are supposed to know the laws of the land. And the way he talks is very unpresidential. He is mentally unfit of being president. He told the media that sometimes he was high due to the drug fentanyl. Maybe that has affected much of his reasoning. Inconsistent to his outrage towards illegal drugs and drug addicts. Oh, I pity the DDS who continue to defend him until now.

    1. Pinoy Citizen,
      “Duterte hurt the sensitive feelings of the believers.”
      Can you please elaborate in what way and how those believers are hurt?

      If and when Duterte actually made such a statement (“god is stupid”), it means to me just one thing. He acknowledges the fact that god does exist. Or is it possible to say “that brick is stupid”? Yes, a brick also exists but its rather strange rto make such a statemewnt about a brick, wouldnt you agree?

      The fact that you see educated and rich people attending church services is not at all that strange. But how do they practise reliogosity is another matter. Do they procreate like rabbits as well or do they have less kids?
      The parents of my pinay GF only has 2 kids and at the same time, they are quite strict in their religion.

      1. Robert,

        Catholics’ faith is being bashed by Duterte renouncing God in the Genesis which Catholics believe in. It is an intimate part of their lives and yet this person called it stupid. If he doesn’t recognize their God, just let them be. This country promotes freedom of religion and freedom of non-religion. He should have accepted those differences because he is the president representing the diverse views and faiths of the Filipino tribes. Since that insult happened, I believe he is dividing this country even more instead of encouraging unity and healing. That doesn’t help his image also. Many Filipinos are thinking whether this man is in his right mind for bringing up that religious topic out of context and out of importance to the occassion. That’s the difference. If ordinary person will say those words they will not hold water to the public.

        What does procreation has to do with religiosity? It is up to the parents. I have seen many poor religious parents who only have 1 or 2 kids. Some don’t have kids on their own. Having kids are the choice of spouses, nothing to do with religion. Maybe you can blame it partly to lack of sex education in the country, but again it is the government’s responsibility to be aggressive in pushing thru that measure.

        1. Pinoy Citizen,
          pls take a closer look at your (PH) laws and constitution. In no way, I see freedom of religion. Philippine laws dont show in any way that there is a seperation between state and religion/church. In fact, PH laws and the PH constitution is a tsunami (a flood) of religiosity/religion.

          If and when I have a kid without baptismal, I cant enlist it in a PH private school because it requires me to show a baptismal. A real secular government will end this practise and if the school will not listen, the government can black list that school or revoke the license to teach and seal off the school premises.

        2. Robert,

          It is written in the Philippine Constitution the freedom to practice religion or the lack thereof. You can search and read it in google. There is also a provision of separation of Church and State in the Constitution.

          The implementation of laws remains to be the biggest problem here in the Philippines. It has been observed for the longest time. We have bright leaders with good educational background in private and public sectors but do not have the exact courage and will to materialize what is in their mind. So really I leave it to them. They already know the problems and solutions. I will let the Philippines evolve as it should be.

    2. The Yellowtards are fond of praying over. And they don’t do it in private. They just have to publicize it. Why? Are we having the impression that this God that they call upon to bless these cheats is the same God that the rest of us pray to? Who is this God? This is what the President is referring to in his speech. So, do you know who this God is? Perhaps you could enlighten the President and the rest of us.

      1. Aphetsky,

        You confuses yourself. It is clear that the Catholics’ God Duterte is actually referring to. Even the bible is telling everyone that many hypocrite priests existed during the time of Jesus. That means not all those who are close to religion are true in their faith. Your argument is quite moot and irrelevant. Can you also englighten me which God that Duterte is basing his faith on? Or is it just under his safe imaginary conception that he believes in God and yet confuses everyone which God he believes in?

        1. Do you pray to the God that criminals pray to? Who is this God that they pray to? I don’t pray to this God. Because he is not my God. This is what I am driving at. You apparently read my reply to you but you did not understand it.

    3. [blockquote]Duterte hurt the sensitive feelings of the believers.[/blockquote]

      You wish. I believe more on the one TRUE faith rather than the Catholic religion due to its massive blunders throughout history. Why not seek TRUE relationship with God instead of being ‘religious’?

      As for Duterte, let God Himself be the judge about this matter. Because AFAIK, ang mas malinaw na kailangan ni President Duterte ay instruction sa subject matter ng Biblical truths. BTW, the Lord is “slow to anger, abounding in love” kaya palagi ang inuuna ng Diyos is MERCY, before judgement.

      A few years ago, I said this:

      “Walang katungkulan ang Diyos sa PULITIKO. Kung sabagay, matagal nang nakatingin ang Diyos sa atin at PALPAK pa rin ang gobyerno.”

      Yeah, I pity more on people who would jump to conclusions about this issue. If anything, it’s the Catholics are the ones who are sensitive here. I bet you guys never watched “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” which is an attack on hypocrisies of institutionalized religion. Even one commenter said that Duterte isn’t attacking the one true God, but the god of hypocrites and their instrumentalities of deception.

      1. Dio,

        So tell me about your guidance of faith other than the church and the bible? If you know God, you wouldn’t be fooled by anything you said as “hypocricies of religion”

        Duterte is the president, and as a leader, he should have been sensitive to the faith of his own people. Sadly he doesn’t act and speak like one.

        And just like any democratic country, the Philippines promotes freedom of differences. One is religion. You are free to choose whichever you like. The Catholics won’t force you anything you cannot accept. You have your own freedom. Don’t dictate us what to do with our faith. It is our choice. We are not violating laws anyway.

        1. And? Christ is the center of the church. So the focus is on Christ and not of the church or whatever you’re trying to pull. Abraham Lincoln is a believer but he never joined any church and he had knowledge of the Bible. And you should know that the Bible is and should be our sole authority for faith and practice. Unfotunately, most Catholics here still doesn’t acknowledge it as they go with their superstitions, etc. with folk Catholicism as the root cause.

          And I noticed your flaw:

          Duterte is the president, and as a leader, he should have been sensitive to the faith of his own people. Sadly he doesn’t act and speak like one.

          You fail to see how he’s frustrated when he said that. Kaya nakapagsalita si Pres. Duterte ng negatibo tungkol sa Lord ay dahil sa sunod-sunod na paninising tinanggap niya mula sa mga kaparian kaugnay ng pagkakapatay ng mga paring napabalitang pinaslang. And you’re totally fine with that? That’s absurd.

          And just like any democratic country, the Philippines promotes freedom of differences. One is religion. You are free to choose whichever you like. The Catholics won’t force you anything you cannot accept. You have your own freedom. Don’t dictate us what to do with our faith. It is our choice. We are not violating laws anyway.

          Seems you fail to realize how much the Catholic church is very influential in politics and other affairs. They even made a list of fake news sites (which includes GRP) that should be avoided and they even opposed the RH Bill among others. Even the church also helped the rise of Yellowtardism that started in 1986.

          “(And) the church helped, so there are no family planning methods for you so overpopulation still flourishes.”

        2. DIO,

          Nobody in Malacanang is saying the same like you. Not Roque, Panelo or Duterte himself that it was related to the killing of the priests the insult he spewed. You have invented your own.

          If the CBCP is very powerful in this country, it is because the government failed its duty to convince the Filipinos that government’s way is better than the Church. The gov’t cannot guarantee a good life to its people, nor encourage them to be scientifically and technologically shrewd in their daily lives, supporting them all the way while competing their innovations at the global arena. These are not the trends in the last 50 years or so in the Philippines. So the people cling to the teachings of the Church, most importantly, the teachings that faith in God and action wilI be the assurance of good life.

          Remember that these people are not kids. They can decide on their own. They have in their right mind whether to believe the teachings of the church about afterlife just like how Benign0 blames the Church instead of the followers failing to see that these followers are already adults. And mind you that not only poor people are going to church, rich and educated are also included.

          So really if the Church is powerful it is because the government failed to compete. That is all there is to it.

  2. @benign0
    Why can’t Filipino President Duterte keep his spirituality in private?

    While Malacañang has defended the president saying that he is entitled to his own religious belief and you have made your opinion of the Roman Catholic Church and the CBCP, perhaps you also can have a ‘review’ on what are your thoughts of his statements.

    What is your personal opinion? Do you personally agree or approve that your God is really stupid as stated by your Filipino President? And why or why not exactly?

    1. I don’t think Duterte or anyone would actually say anyone’s god is “stupid”. If you read the news reports carefully, that statement was made in the way said god is portrayed in scripture.

      The article itself makes no judgement on anyone’s god. Rather it is, as the title states, a review of the practice of Catholicism in the Philippines.

      1. “I don’t think Duterte or anyone would actually say anyone’s god is “stupid”.”

        Well, your Filipino President Duterte just did it… again:

        “Your god is not my god because your god is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense.”
        “Sabi ko, not everything in the bible is true. Sino nag-publish niyang Bible na iyan?”
        “They are taking against me the cudgels for saying ‘Your God is stupid.’ Totoo naman. And I said that — kung hindi… itong mga bobo na ito… I said that in connection with my statement against Sister Fox.”

        The correctness of your answer has just been superseded by yet another controversial remark in defense of his calling your God “stupid”. Using anyone’s God just to spite perceived enemies is a negative policy and not a very healthy propositon!

        Your Filipino President, who cannot even claim any true spiritual expertise nor authority on the matter, mocking, questioning and arguing about the veracity and science behind the Bible, then God and religion, based on mere personal opinion is not only a waste of time but also a diversion to the more compelling socio-economic issues that needs his attention and energy, that, being his duty, as a Filipino state leader.

        1. Seems that you’re grasping on straws that you just repeated…. his previous statements.

          Latest statement here;

          “I never said I never had a God. Sabi ko, your (Catholic priests) god is not my God. Your god is stupid, my God is perfect and has a perfect common sense. Ako, I believe in a universal Being. There is Somebody there more supreme than the rest of the gods of men. Mayroon talaga dyan, kasi ‘pag hindi, with all the billions and trillions of stars kung walang nagkokontrol niyan sumabog na tayo lahat.”

  3. If President Digong didn’t say the word “STUPID” with that remark, would it make the headlines and attract that much attention? He was quite sober at the time, I would say. We can’t control how other people react, but maybe we can share to refine our understanding of the original idea :
    Would a supreme entity who created beings in its likeness (and gave them authority) want them to be unquestioning and have no inner compass? Just my humble POV.

    1. God created us in His own image…. and He gives us FREE WILL. In order for us to choose who should we follow. God loves us so we could love Him back. He doesn’t want robots to serve Him.

  4. The clergy or the Roman Catholic Church, was one of the vital powers, that ruled the Philippines, during our Spanish colonization. along with the : military and the oligarchy. Not much has changed, after our “independence’. These three entities are still the vital forces, ruling our country.

    It is the same in Israel , the Jewish Sanhedrin, is the behind the force of any Israeli Prime Minister, ruling Israel. Iran, is the same; the Ayatollah, is behind the scene, of any Iranian President, ruling Iran.

    The Roman Catholic Church, with its CBCP, cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns; were the ones who helped the Aquinos, got into power. So, they get a strong influence on the way our country is governed.

    We are not a Democracy. We are a Feudal Oligarchy, with a full contrast of Theocracy. The Roman Catholic Church, wants to have a great influence on us. It enforces its morality on us.

    Religion is good, if it preaches the teachings of their: saints prophets and Gods. However, it becomes a “pain in the ass”, if it forces itself on all of us. This is the reason, we must have a Clear separation of the Church and the State. No Islamic Sharia Law; no to any religious law; no to all churches laws.

    I, myself don’t believe in any organized religion. They are all businesses and scammers. They are extremely rich, while their believers are poor. Because, they preach that the poor are “blessed”. They also preach to give : tithes, offerings and regular contributions; to please their Gods. Some demands to give your life to their Gods, in exchange of 72 virgins in Paradise.

  5. Hyden,

    How can a religion maintains itself nowadays without contribution from its members? Offering something to the church can be found in the bible itself. Unlike other religion, Roman Catholic does not force you to give anything. It is still your free will to do so if you want to give or not. It is also your choice whether you will attend a mass or not. Your choice also if you want to leave this religion or not. So really, there is no compulsion here. Do not see it as if you have no other choice because you are free on your own.

    1. What he’s referring is how the Roman Catholic church in the Philippines is very influential in the political landscape of this country and other affairs, like I mentioned before. You try to connect the dots.

    2. @Pinoy Citizen :

      This is why I called all religions are businesses and scams. Some are really scammers, promising something after your death. Some are very demanding regarding your daily life. Some try to influence the government; so that their religious agendas will be advanced. It is good , if their agendas are for their people and religions. However, if it goes to the way we are governed. Then, it affects every governed soul, believers or not.

      I have no quarrel, on people who practice any religious belief.
      However, if their beliefs are affecting me and others, thru the government laws. Then, that is another thing.

      It is like the Islamic Sharia law. The Sharia Law was derived from the Islamic Koran and Muhammad’s Hadith. If people want to wear burqua; marry four wives; become pedophiles; drink camel’s urine; piss squatting; pray five times a day, facing Mecca; worship the Moon God: Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, Brahma, Buddha, etc…it is their own business.

      But, If they force me, a non believer/infidel, to do the same, because it is the law of the country. That is where, I will surely do a Jihad on them , even to the end !

  6. I wrote an answer on Quora to “Do you think Catholicism keeps the Philippines from progressing?” explaining that the problem is the Catholic clergy seeking control over political affairs. It’s something that’s been around ever since Constantine decided to ally with the Christian church then and give them political power, and ever since then, the church keeps on getting allied with Charlemagne, the Hapsburgs, and in our case, the Spanish monarchy. Some of the clergy were corrupt, they sought that power to get their grubby hands on this things they want and coerce people, but later on, governments didn’t like it and created “separation of church and state.” The Philippines is like the last bastion against this, and the church is fighting tooth and nail to keep what they had in the Medieval ages. At least, to my understanding.

    1. ChinoF,
      then please explain me why the Irish (Republic of Ireland) can fight for an abortion law and eventually get an abortion law?

      Hence, the power is in the hands of the people. So, or the people dont want change (read: progress) or they dont know how to fight for something.

      1. That’s perhaps Irish people voting on their own, whether motivated by their belief or not, that’s OK with me. What I’m talking is, here in the Philippines, the clergy is thought to be making their own arrangements with politicians, basically “whispering in their ear,” to see things their way. They would rather ignore the will of the people, because they’d rather have it that the people obey them. This is what some see in certain clergymen taking partisan stances, such as being against Duterte.

        1. Actually it was a referendum which was won by the people who voted for a liberal view on abortion. Among all EU member states, Ireland had the strictest abortion laws (probably together with Poland).

          What I dont understand is that the Filipino people are bigger/larger (in absolute numbers) versus those clergy guys, all priests and all cardinals. Hence, the people are stronger (or at least, they should be stronger).
          What will happen if – in an organized way – nobody will attend church services for one or 2 weeks? Will there be chaos within the ranks of the CBCP?

        2. Well, what I see is that the Catholic church doesn’t want things left to a referendum… well, especially if it expects to lose. For example, we had the Reproductive Health bill that the church opposed recently turned into law. Well, not run through a referendum anyway, but the church fought tooth and nail against it. They’ll fight tooth and nail against divorce and same-sex marriage efforts now. Well, referendum or not, they may have less influence in today’s society than they want, so they’re trying that same old method, sticking to politicians to try and get their way through them.

          What’s funny about that is that it made strange bedfellows (yes, the saying about politics). Riza Hontiveros who championed the RH Law is supported at other times by same church that opposed the RH law when they both rail against President Duterte. Benign0 wrote about that before, wondering at the apparent lack of consistency on the church’s stances. But yes, there’s that saying, politics makes strange bedfellows, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, but is still worth taking a snipe, especially at a church that claims to be the authority on morality, but contradicts its own stance there by taking on strange bedfellows.

  7. the roman catholic church has alot of things to explain. fake news started within its sect. how could a virgin gave birth, how could a lighning strike write on a piece of stone, and so on? and why the roman catholic church used pagan symbols in the house like the holy sacrament, the cross, the chalice, christmas trees, and many more. they should explain the book from page 1 to the end why it’s full of fake news.

    1. To claim that that the Bible is ‘full of fake news’ doesn’t prove anything other than their moronic and fake understanding of the book. The Bible is for smart people!

      You have to be smart to appreciate, to comprehend, as to who’s talking, who is spoken to and when it was spoken… literally or figuratively.

      Shallow people may claim that the Bible contradicts itself but the truth really is a matter of their cognitive discrepancy.

  8. Pinoy Citizen,
    I do know that it is written in the constitution. But clearly that is a dead phrase. Only since last year (or even only this year) politicians are talking about a divorce law. Why is it that everything in PH happens 50-60 years later compared to modern industrialized countries? And what about the status of the RH law?

    I think it was a few years ago that I wrote here (as comment) that OFWs (together with Pinays who left the country through marrying a foreigner) would be my big hope for change in PH. But immediately I was slapped in the face by – I think it was Ilda – saying that all OFWs mingle together and are not the source for creating new hope and change in PH.

    My country has totally opposite laws and an opposite culture. Now, without being arrogant, it is not going to hell and not leading to chaos. And there is total freedom. Okay, total freedom doesnt exist because that will/may lead to anarchy.

  9. How is a man to judge what to do in such times? As he has ever judged. Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.

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