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TLL/DWIZ July 15, 2011 Damn the bishops for taking it lying down By Teodoro Locsin Jr.

THE issue of the bishops Pajeros was from the start an obvious demolition job directed at the Catholic Church so as to weaken its resistance to the birth control bill which is immorally premised on the hope and proposition that only the select few (who can afford it) deserve to be born into the next generation. I have elsewhere conclusively proved, in an article of Tolstoyan proportions and Kantian acuity that the bill has only slimmest relevance to reproductive health and womens empowerment, while Nobel laureate Amartya Sen proved that educating women better empowers them to say no to more children than their mates can pay to maintain. The real and only purpose of the misleadingly labeled reproductive health bill is to enforce artificial birth control on a rampantly randy colored race through the free distribution of expensive contraceptives (not covered by the Cheaper Medicine Act) to be sold by the giant pharmaceutical firms that are bankrolling the RH bill. There is no birth control program anywhere in the white world. To start with, the amount involved in the bishops Pajero scandal was picayune: P6 million. To continue, the vehicles purchased by the bishops with money given by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes were not Pajeros but second- even third- hand utility vehicles for social work. None of the vehicles could be describedas the PCSO and government spokesmen repeatedly liedas luxury or even remotely mid-range. The governments aim in exposing the donations was to make the bishops look like crooks, the Catholic Church like a den of thieves, and Aquino like Jesus driving the moneychangers from the Temple. Not surprisingly, the main attack made by administration and its senatorial allies against the Catholic Church involved the separation of church and state. The Church has argued that that principle prevents the state from imposing a birth control program that violates a genuine Catholic conscience, which is shaped not by superficial opinion fed by a superficial press but by Catholic instruction. Some may not believe this but Catholics must. It is the same with the Iglesia ni Cristo

which none dare defame because its bishops are made of sterner stuff than their Catholic counterparts. The Aquino administration has argued that the same principle forbids the Catholic Church from asserting politically its most cherished beliefin the priceless sanctity of lifeagainst the secular conviction that life is only for those who can afford it and not for those who cannot. The Aquino administration accused the Catholic Church of violating the separation of church and state principle, as much by accepting the PCSOs money to purchase utility vehicles for social work, as by politically asserting its most cherished belief in the priceless sanctity of human life against the Aquino administrations opposed view that life is only as good as its economic contribution and drops in value when supply outstrips demand. The Aquino administration believes that religious belief can only find private expression and never political actiona view that would have denied Cory Aquino the faith-based political power to liberate her people. In this battle of beliefs (neither one nor the other has hard science to back it) between an old religion and a new secular faith, the government has fired lies, insults and paid crowds, led by a harlot and a Chinese clown in a cardboard miter with a papier mache Pajero around his waist. The government-sponsored Bantay Bishops rallied around the Calvary of the Senate where it was hoped that the bishops, after the scourging at the pillar of the press, would be crucified. The bishops accusers and their senatorial backers were crucified instead by Miriam Defensor Santiago, defensor fidei. She gave a piece of her mind to those who dont have any. With machinegun staccato of alliterative and penetrating invectives, Miriam mowed down the moral pretensions of her senate colleagues who each take home, no questions asked, P200 million a year just in salaries and allowances paid only nominally to non-existent staff, plus hundreds of millions in kickbacks from billions in pork barrel. Miriam accused the accuser, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes of smothering the bishops in ordure to cover up its odious practices like privately placing billions in PCSO funds in private banks for a margin of the interest. Miriam did what the pathetic bishops had failed to do for themselves, for their Church, and for her dismayed children. She defamed but with utter accuracy the defamers of the Catholic religion and exposed them as what the Church was too afraid to call them: enemies of the Catholic faith. She left the Commission on Audit in shambles for wasting the time of the Senate on constitutional issues it had no authority to raise. The COA may question whether appropriated sums were

spent or stolen but not whether, after being properly accounted for, it was constitutionally dispensed as well. New minted COA commissioner Heidi Mendoza looks more fetching in office than she did out of it. Power may be an aphrodisiac, as Henry Kissinger said, but public office will definitely give you a makeover. But the Aquino administration, though its credibility is now shattered, did succeed in arousing Catholic contempt for the Catholic Church, especially among its stoutest defenders. All right-thinking and right-feeling Catholics now despise the Church for allowing our religion to be insulted, traduced, shamed and dragged in the mud with no more resistance than a Jew in a ghetto in a pogrom. Christ counseled humility but not shame; forgiveness but not submission. The history of the Catholic Church is one of proud assertion and militancy born of the conviction of its infallibility. The timidity of the Filipino Catholic Church strongly suggests that its bishops no longer believe in the truth of the Church or in its imperishability despite Christs promise that he had built her on unyielding rock and not on the rolling pebbles of public opinion. The Church survived the Roman Empire, converted its conquerors, captured Jerusalem, beat back Islam from the Christian heartland, purged Spain of impurity, stopped the Reformation from spilling out of its Germanic birthplace, and beat the pagans wherever she took the faithin New England or in New Guinea. If Catholic charities, Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals closed down, Alvin Capino has said, the US would collapse in crisis in all three dimensions. Yet before alcoholics who can neither hold their drink nor keep from sliding from the sofa to the floor of the Peninsula lobby, it has succumbed as though before the Caesars with whom it would be absurd to compare them. Nero had musical talent; it takes none to raise a bottle to your lips or drive a new car into a ditch. Shame then on the Catholic Church, which abjectly apologized to crooks, as Miriam showed them to be. Rather than apologize, it should have excommunicated its detractors for traducing the Church. Had not one of its brightest lights, the Jesuit scholar Bernas, already showed there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional in faithbased initiatives like government grants to churches for secular purposes? Then would Aquino have gone on his knees and crawled to Canosa, as did Henry to beg forgiveness of the Church he defamed. This shame cannot be wiped away until the Church pays back the government in

the same coin it was dealt at the Senate. If it doesnt go on the attack in every pulpit in the land, then should all true Catholics turn their backs on this ridiculous, faithless and timid religion. Christ said, You cannot serve God and Mammon yet these were not even Pajeros. Christ said, What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soulbut for ten-year old utility van to ferry the poor from sickbed to dying bed in ill-provisioned, germ-infested, decrepit public hospitals? Goddamn the bishops for their timidity and abjectness; God damn them for hesitating even a minute to return their Pajeros; may they all go to hell for shaming our religion. In this scandal of lies, the government knocked the crown of glory from the head of the Church; if our bishops will stoop only to bow to their traducers rather than retrieve it, then every right thinking Catholic should pick it up from the gutter and shove it down the throat of the government. The SWS surveys may be right that most Catholics do not care much for their religion or its basic belief in life over death and eternity over extinction. If the surveys are right but Catholicism is true in its promises and its threats (as was drilled into us in school) then that is all for the good. There will be more room in heaven for the few who believe every word of the Credo and hotter and more crowded in hell for the rest. There is a misguided view that the Church depends for its vitality on multiplying the multitude of the faithful, on quantity over quality. Where does it say that in scripture or Church teaching? One woman kneeling in a pew whispering the rosary fills a cathedral. Christ came and died to give mankind one more chance at redemptionbut only one. Salvation is for the select. True the faithful may turn out to be just a few but a happy few; a band of brothers and sisters. The fewer, another Catholic king said, the greater each his or her share of glory and the certainty of redemption. I often miss mass but I know it is a sin when I fail to do so. There are no excuses. It is the privilege of a Catholic to be filled with remorse when he fails in the Faith and with rage at those who defame it.