Where's the hu­mil­ity?

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Has Pres­i­dent Duterte gone over­board in his ver­bal at­tacks against Philip­pine Catholic bish­ops and priests? Not only has he done so, he has ac­tu­ally gone over the cliff in his tirades. And yet he re­mains hugely pop­u­lar (brush­ing 80 per­cent in the lat­est sur­veys) in this pre­dom­i­nantly Catholic (80-85 per­cent) coun­try of 110 mil­lion.

Why is this so? Be­cause while most Catholic Filipinos may feel of­fended by these at­tacks, es­pe­cially when they oc­ca­sion­ally ric­o­chet off the priests and bish­ops and ac­tu­ally graze the re­li­gion it­self, they re­main ma­ture and in­tel­li­gent enough to re­al­ize that while Duterte may be the pres­i­dent, he is ab­so­lutely no au­thor­ity on mat­ters per­tain­ing to faith, moral­ity, or plain good­ness.

In other words, to most Filipinos Duterte knows not whereof he speaks when he launches into his oc­ca­sional God­speak. He is not a cred­i­ble per­son to talk about the sub­ject. He is not an au­thor­ity on the mat­ter. Those who do not have time on their hands, whom I pre­sume to be most peo­ple, know well enough to ig­nore him.

On the mat­ter of faith and re­li­gion, Duterte is just an­other per­son with an opin­ion for whom cir­cum­stances al­lowed a mike to be pushed in front of his face. But he has noth­ing to say really. Be­sides, what can he really say against a re­li­gion that has more than four hun­dred years to its name in these shores that will make it trem­ble at the sound of his voice?

Duterte re­mains pop­u­lar be­cause Filipinos do not take him up on his non­sense but dwell in­stead on where he makes sense. What is ap­palling is that, un­like most Filipinos, there are ac­tu­ally some priests and bish­ops, learned men who spent years dis­cern­ing, who get shaken in their lofty perches by the words of one man who ob­vi­ously has fallen in love with him­self.

What a big let­down for these priests and bish­ops to take on Duterte. They should have em­u­lated the vast ma­jor­ity of their fel­low men of the cloth who, dis­cern­ing what is right, stood with the rest of Filipinos in sim­ply ig­nor­ing the un­qual­i­fied rants of an un­qual­i­fied man.

Last Sat­ur­day, in the homily at one of the novena-masses on the third day lead­ing to the feast of the Sto. Niño of Cebu, the priest dwelt on hu­mil­ity and the need to be like Christ in hum­ble­ness. I think it is pre­cisely the lack of hu­mil­ity that lies at the root of the con­flict be­tween Duterte and cer­tain bish­ops and priests.

Duterte does not like pub­lic pol­icy con­fronted by re­li­gious au­thor­ity. On the other hand, some high and mighty ech­e­lons of the clergy find the ef­fron­tery of be­ing lec­tured by a sin­ner too much to let pass. It is dis­con­cert­ing to see how eas­ily ruf­fled the feath­ers of re­li­gious ex­perts can get at words of the un­know­ing, and all be­cause they lack the hu­mil­ity to turn the other cheek.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.