From the point of view of the Democracy and the Constitution, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) as an institution is what we call a Non-government Organization (NGO). Just like the Communist Party of the Philippines, or Greenpeace, or an ideologically driven newspaper like the Philippine Daily Innuendo (all of whom support and find common cause with it), the RCC has taken very definite positions on the fulcrum issues of Philippine society, and just like them deserves to be scrutinized for the validity, reasonability and consequences of its policies and actions. In the next few weeks I propose to do just that in several key areas:
(1) I've already begun with its position on Population policy, which I think bears important significance on the long-term economic prospects of the country See my recent posts under the label of population. Here I've been developing the idea that while the RCC's birth control policies are not per se the CAUSE of hunger, poverty and economic underdevelopment, (which is the disdainfully weak rhetorical position of its defenders), their undeniable consequence in the form of overpopulation, strictly limits the efficacy of any solutions to the problems that face Philippine society and vastly diminishes any gains that are achieved. Overpopulation has a structural, multiplier effect that exacerbates those problems, places pressure on natural resources such as water, land and the ability of society to feed, clothe, shelter and educate the people. As such, I've come to the conclusion that the RCC's position on birth control is essentially an issue of social justice and moral compass.
(2) In the economic realm, the Church has adopted entirely regressive policies on such key issues as mining, genetically modified organisms, nuclear power and globalization, which deserve to be examined and understood in the light of its apparent adoption of radical, fear-mongering environmentalism as a secular component of its religious tenets.
(3) In politics, it has aligned itself with the liberal fascist policies of the Arroyo administration and holds captive a large part of the electorate by acting as a de facto political party, uber alles, of which all the other parties are mere factions (think about it!). This is a situation that suits its theocratic inclinations just fine, because while it wields political power indirectly, yet effectively, it has complete deniability of responsibility in the results of the fractious multiparty system and inutile governance!
(4) In education, the Catholic Church completely dominates the private school sectors, powerfully influences the public school system (since it trains virtually all the teachers and functionaries that run it!) and sabotages science education along the lines that conform to its reactionary world view and sentimentally looks back upon Spanish Taliban times as its halcyon days of complete domination in this field.
(5) In religion and morals, the RCC is an almost complete failure, both in its teaching magisterium and in the example set by its hierarchy. It does not teach Christianity at the level of Biblical study, but rather concentrates on liturgical extravaganzas that have weekly, monthly, seasonal and holiday components, and as in the days of yore, utilizes sacraments and ceremonies as cultural artifacts that circumscribe Filipino social life. Its dominance on the educational system is founded on its captivity of the market among middle and upper classes and the inability of the public school system to deliver quality education to the masses. (Why? because every year 2 million new births long ago swamped the ability of society to provide "free universal education"--the biggest joke of all).
(6) On social issues, the Church sets the worst example on the matter of GAMBLING, where its corrupt relationship with the PAGCOR represents an entirely unhealthy and demoralizing factor for which its leaders ought to be pilloried and put to shame. (Meanwhile, a guy like Archbishop Oscar Cruz has been ordered arrested for libel while his confreres at the CBCP inaugurate and sanctify massive new enterprises for gambling and vice.)
I encourage Philippine Commentary readers to join me in a thorough re-examination of the Roman Catholic Church's role in society. In my humble opinion, they are presently an integral and essential part of the problem, when they could and should be part of the solution instead.
I speak both as a loyal citizen of the Republic as well as a member of the Catholic Church, both which I simply refuse to surrender to Men in Skirts and Funny Hats whose conceptions and positions are mostly bankrupt and backward from a moral and intellectual standpoint.