I was asked by one of my analyst last Friday what I thought of the recent incident involving a tour guide protesting inside the Manila Cathedral while an ecumenical service was on-going. I thought it was scandalous – but that is exactly what these people want. Personally, I’m offended and saddened.I would not be surprised if we would see more of these tasteless protesting inside our sacred places. I could not accept such acts as it violates my right not only as a Catholic but as a Filipino . If tomorrow Muslims leaders comes out and express that they are against this controversial bill would this mean that we can interrupt their religious duties so we can make known of our opposition? But of course that won’t happen – and this I’m willing to bet good money on – not even the most daring of these people who supports the bill would even dare to step inside a mosque to protest. Respect is a very important aspect of discipline – and what that man did was insolent and pointless. I’ve met him twice and he seem to be an nice chap but he did wrong.
The issue is that the Catholic leaders are using their authority to wedge the passage of a law. You know if we are not a country where Catholicism is the largest religion, the opposition of the Bishops and Cardinals won’t be an issue – no one’s protesting why INC prohibits their followers to join labor unions or for some Muslim groups for advocating freedom from the Manila government. The simple fact is that these men, these Bishops and Cardinals, are preaching to their followers – the Catholics – I have not heard them force anyone to subscribe to their beliefs – if the government officials and those who oppose what they advocate believes that the Catholic leaders are doing the wrong thing, they could easily discard the faith – pass the law and that should be the end of it. We have this kind of freedom – principles must guide our actions and if this bill represent ones values then he must stand for it. Now, why these government officials still considers the Catholic opinion is because they are Catholics, if not them, their families and the majority of their constituents.
They say that the Catholics are blackmailing the lawmakers. I don’t see it that way – the reason why they even bother to listen to these Bishops and Cardinals is because they understand the consequences of their actions – whether its political or spiritual. Which again goes back to the question, why would people like the President even bother to meet with these Catholic leaders? The answer is simple, because we are predominantly Catholic. Look, if those lawmakers, even the president, believes that this reproductive health is the right thing – they can easily make it happen. Don’t start with the “separation of state and religion”, we know its already separated what some people have problem accepting is the influence of the religion over its members – politicians included.
Soc Rodrigo once said; “The rest of us, the other eighty percent of us, being Catholics, must not meddle. What then? …we Catholics must obey laws, ah, that is politics-Catholics please stay out”. These days, the paradoxical case where the minority is more powerful than the majority has been made possible by the media. Which is cool, everyone has the freedom to say they want to say – and the Catholic church has that same right. I’m not advocating dominance or anything like it but just like any other religion who have a voice over their followers, Catholics have one too. But because we the religion has the highest number, the decision its leadership makes affects the state – who do we blame then?
Those who are in disagreement with the religions teachings quickly points out that “hey they are influencing their members on their choices in life!” — wait, isn’t that one of religions role? to guide her members. I’ve criticize some of the Bishops in the past for expressing their opinion using strong provocative words. But regardless of the message, the only concern is to protect lives – and for us modern Catholics, this the most important advocacy that we could ever fight in our lifetime.
The Catholic’s influence has been twisted as some black agenda reminiscent of the Friars of the old days by people who oppose, hate, the religion and its leaders. Quite frankly, its an old tune – I’m surprise that some people still hums it. What we are overlooking are the interest behind the law – corporatist are waiting to cash in, this is big business, all these contraceptives and all those materials waiting to be distributed – let’s not forget that. We know that we all can make our choices, some people that supports this bill are Catholics, or so they claim – we are a free nation, its not like some Friar would rat you out and have you executed in Bagumbayan.
The point is that we should respect each others religion. Now the problem is that if you call yourself a Catholic and side with men who spits on your religion. Men who disregards not only the authority of its leaders but the sanctity of its church. That’s a reflection of how you value your religion – and the kind of Catholic you are.