Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The church as bitchy free-rider!

It’s nice that the Catholic Church has started to meddle less in Philippine partisan politics now that the country’s “democratic exuberance” has started to brew so early in 2006. It’s possible that Joseph Ratzinger, the new pope, had told his troops here to focus their energies on evangelization instead. That’s a welcome change from the time of Jaime Cardinal Sin when the Church was practically kingmaker. Church people then were among the major political opinion makers of the day. Every priest and bishops had opinions on all earth-bound issues including human rights, feminism, gender, genetically-modified organism, environment, investments, population, international trade, Valentines Day despite the fact that most of them don’t have any expertise on these issues.

No problem there except the hypocrisy. While the bishops and priest are into campaigns against the State’s authoritarian impulses, the Church is by itself undemocratic. Bishops and priets speak about equality yet they don’t allow women to become priests. They speak about the “preferential option for the poor” knowing that they are making huge profits from their expensive, elitist schools. They fulminate about government’s failure to invest in necessary economic and social infrastructure, yet the Church does not pay taxes so vital in national development.

I believe in the separation of Church and State. But the Church can actually help solve the fiscal problem by voluntary paying taxes. They speak about honesty, about good governance, yet the Church does not provide the public duly-audited financial statements of her own collections from the people. Men of the cloth rant about gambling yet most of them receive contributions from PCSO and from gambling organizations.

I do rave and rant against the government oftentimes. I have the right to do so because I pay my taxes. I support the State with my money; the State has to pay me back with good governance. It’s that simple.

The party is one good metaphor. If you are an invited guest, you don’t rant and rave about the fly in the soup because it’s discourteous to do so. You just don’t eat the soup. In a restaurant, you have the right to complain because you paid for the meal with hard-earned money. The Church likes the excitement of bitching around every time while partaking of the political buffet with the full knowledge that someone else is paying for her meal.

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