ItimeLIKE Pope Francis but this I have to tell him to his face, so to speak, that he was grossly wrong to say that “The Philippines is a great Catholic nation.” I can’t imagine him a hypocrite for saying this so I have to assume he was buttered up by pretentious Philippine bishops.
By Catholic, the Pope’s informers perhaps mean we are regular Church-goers who give in the collection box and pay for masses and sacraments, pray the rosary, celebrate lavishly even fanatically the feast of saints, and are under the spell of the clergy.
All those practices, however, do not make us a great Catholic nation. If anything they make us a nation of hypocrites because we are in fact not Christians at all. Consider the following scandalous fact about this nation.
In this country of 80 percent Catholics, 40 percent are poor and 15 percent are hungry. This is roughly the demography of every diocese and parish in this country. Yet, what do our upper class and/or upper middle class Catholic bishops, priests and laity do to alleviate the suffering of the poor in their respective jurisdictions?
Children of the poor roam our streets peeking into trash bins for left-over food while their parents scrounge garbage dumps for something they can sell. Ten, 12 family members are crammed into a one-room shanty in the slums but stonehearted clergy would rather have poor ignorant parents and their children live in dire poverty than give them access to scientific and effective family planning methods that educated and rich Catholics are able to access on their own.
Okay, they say it is not their responsibility but the government’s. But 80 percent of dynasties plundering this country and keeping its people poor and ignorant are Catholics. Children of rich Catholics get their education from expensive Catholic schools only to later join dynasties in their unabated oppression of the ignorant and powerless poor. Now the House of Representatives is rushing to approve a draft charter that has no provision to abolish political dynasties which are the bane of this country. Eighty percent of them are Catholics. But I don’t think bishops should relay to the Pope that these are Christians.
I have said this before and I am saying it again. Catholic bishops and priests should admit to having utterly and massively failed to Christianize this country. No, Holy Father, we are not a great Catholic country. We are Church-goers, fanatical devotees of Sto. Niño, Mama Mary and the saints. But we are not Christians because we are unjust to and uncaring of the poor among us. We treat our dogs better.
Instead we are what you call pagan Christians. We are a nation of hypocrites. The Holy Father should visit us again, this time to face this painful truth.