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.
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.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.