Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What Good Is The Catholic Church in Economics, Politics, Education, Religion and Morals?

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.


Richard said...


"I speak both as a loyal citizen of the Republic as well as a member of the Catholic Church"

I've said it before on this site in response to your criticisms...everything old is new again. I hope they listen this time, but I doubt it. I think the problem with the RCC isn't it's beliefs, but it's willingness so sell them so cheaply...If they actually stood behind what they preached it would be completely different story...but that failure to do so has been a valid criticism of the Vatican-based church for many a century.

Gabby said...

about bullet 6)

can you share some links showing that the church accepts money from gambling? a cursory search reveals that the official policy is NOT to accept, but bishops are free to voice their own opinion.

on bullet 4) any links also on how RCC dominates the public school system? What, what does it want the public school system to do/to be. i'm confused. and how is the RCC sabotaging science education. Some of the best scientists in the philippines work for private religious schools, or are products of these said schools. any evidence that they look "back upon Spanish Taliban times as its halcyon days of complete domination in this field."? I'm confused. If anything, its bad textbooks and antiquated teaching techniques that are the problem with education, among other infra issues.

i'll ask more questions later. a couple at a time :)

raj said...

there was only one Christian and he died in the cross. what is left are vistages of the roman state religion invented by emperor Numa, inventor of the 'vestral virgins'.

they still control the wombs of women in a sense, or hope to control it. they should not even be looked upon as authorities in marriages since they cannot relate to that issue comprehensively.

in the age of information, us men wish our women got more control of themselves.

DJB Rizalist said...

On education take a look at my post Flagrant Violation of Nonestablishment Clause which shows how the curriculum has been distorted by RCC using "Values Education" as cover.

How does it sabotage science education. Why, when it caused former Deped Secretary Raul Roco to ABOLISH Grades One and Two Science Subject from the curriculum.

Since 2002, there has been no more SCIENCE subject in those two crucial grades of ALL public schools. No Science is taught at all in Grades One and Two because of the RCC. This was a major victory for the Catholic Taliban because that is how they got "values education" put in, which by the way also led to the kiboshing of "sex education" in high schools.

Check out my education label for more articles on this matter.

DJB Rizalist said...

On gambling, look at this front page picture of three bishops emeritus inaugurating the big billion dollar new gambling complex on Roxas Blvd

Gabby said...

thanks for the speedy reply. on education, i checked out the first link. I can see that the DepEd has included 'values'.

Setting aside the debate on the role of values in elementary education, i am still confused about the RCC's direct involvement. As far as i can tell, you can't prove that the philippine hierarchy influenced this. This is the DepEds doing. infact, as you write, when Bro. Andrew was heading it, the basic curriculum was focused on core knowledge. While not part of the hierarchy, he is a leader in the RCC.

as for the picture, can't bishops attend these functions? I was not aware that the prohibition of acceptance of gambling money implies that bishops can no longer go to these events. Also, these bishops can, individually, do whatever they want, but ultimately, its the official position of the CBCP that matters. As far as i can tell, they are saying no to gambling money.

In fact, i'm wondering: how can it be that the RCC have the political power you are ascribing to it? Its a fact they can't get anyone elected at the national level -- there is no catholic vote. my personal theory is that the church is much more powerful at the parish level, so some congressmen rely on the local churches for a platform. I have no proof, but it certainly is a puzzle.

GMA's allegiance is less of a puzzle. I think she feels she owes the church for its support early on in her presidency.

blackshama said...

DJB read your history! Start with Hillaire Belloc. The Catholic Church is not an NGO. It is a sovereign state both spiritually and temporally. The Kingdom of God is a political entity and sovereign!

The Catholic Church on earth of course can be subject to criticism. For one thing it still hasn't come to a detente with Science, its natural child. Thus its regressive position on genetic manipulation (now elevated to a sin!). It is very ironic that the man who invented human mediated genetic manipulation was a Reverend Father Abbot of the Monastery at Brno. The Monastery is now a leading research centre for genetics (The Mendelium!)

Now Father Mendel wouldn't have discovered how genes work if not for his bishop who forbade him to study mating in rats. The good bishop worried that observing rats having sex may cause Mendel to break his celibacy vow! The bishop gave permission to study peas. The rest is glorious scientific history!

You see DJB, you need to give credit where it is due. The Catholic Church has over the ages gave the "kick in the ass" to start the Scientific Revolution! Marxism, Protestantism, Buddhism,Islam, Manalo's Iglesia ni Cristo, Soriano's ADD, Born Agains etc were never able to do that. Catholicism provided the venue for the trysting of faith and reason that allowed science to flourish. Faith and Reason allow for dissent DJB as long as your premises are solid!

As for your gripes on Catholic "sabotage" of science education. It isn't the Catholic Church that proscribes science in the schools but the Protestant fundamentalists. Your views on Catholicism seem to be coloured by Protestant fundamentalist libel!

As for Catholic teachings on human reproduction, science will cause that to change. Darwinian theory has proven as fact that sex has more functions than procreation!

Your gripes deal with how the hierarchy deals with a lot of matters. But Vatican II has infallibly taught that the hierarchy is not the ekklesia.

Your gripes are legit. But I have one suggestion for you. You should as a Catholic pray a novena to the about-to-be beatified John Henry Cardinal Newman, our saint of the sensus fidelium.

The Voice of the Faithful will in Time be heard! Newman wrote.

But you have to stick with Peter's boat in rough and calm water.

It is our communion with the Bishop of Rome that matters not the CBCP!

Equalizer said...

I have been wondering whether our perceived self-images as a "Catholic Latin American" country in Asia and America's "51st state" have been the root causes of our lack of national identity and pride.

DJB Rizalist said...

As long as we insist on Conrad de Quiros' aboriginal concept of "national identity" and insanely reject the reality that Spain (especially the RCC -- nota bene, Ben!) and America contributed more to who we are and what we ought to be proud of than anything that came before them, then we are condemned to an impotent anger and self-loathing. When shall we cease to insist that everything that has happened since the 16th century is "foreign"? and therefore unworthy. As if everything BEFORE the 16th century were "native" or indigenous to these islands!

Aboriginalism is its own punishment. And funny when you think about it. We have to learn to play the hand we've been dealt instead of trying to upend the game table and acting like cry babies.

john marzan said...

can you share some links showing that the church accepts money from gambling? a cursory search reveals that the official policy is NOT to accept, but bishops are free to voice their own opinion.

link 1
link 2
link 3

ricelander said...

How many do you think still listen to the bishops? Compare that to twenty or ten years ago or further back into the past. It's a waning influence. You will see such a huge gap if you compare our parents' generation to our sons' and daughters'. If the RCC would not adapt to the explosion of knowledge, they will be celebrating masses in empty churches like those in Europe.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of science, the Church won't distribute rice from Stateside unless the US proves to their satisfaction it hasn't been genetically modified, because everyone knows if you eat Frankenfood you grow a third eye or something. They saw it on "Volta".

Gabby said...

thanks john marzan! very interesting links.

The Pelican Spectator said...

After cyclone Nargis I finally have some thoughts on what the CBCP looks like: the Burmese junta.

blackshama said...


Re: science. Again you confound the hierarchy for the Church.

The hierarchy unless they have science degrees have very little science background.

Thus they fall into environmentalist propaganda. But that isn't limited to clerics.

You can also blame the "Simpsons" for making the problem worse. Have you ever thought how much time effort we evolutionary biologists had to do to explain why a "fish with a 3rd eye" isn't likely to survive and pass on its genes?

So Simpson producers are likely to have the same science background as many clerics, Catholic or otherwise.

Pelican spectator:

The CBCP isn't even remotely like the Burmese Junta. After all its members are accountable to Papa Ratzi only and not to Archbishop Oscar Cruz. Also you haven't heard a peep from any of the Junta while some the CBCP members can't help not to keep their mouths shut. Thus the libel suit against Cruz!

Amadeo said...

What Good Is The Catholic Church in Economics, Politics, Education, Religion and Morals?

I agree with Blackshama who takes on a more reasoned, fair, and a more catholic path to understanding and exposing Catholicism, or the Church. It is definitely a lot bigger and more than the visible and more material things who conceptualize in our minds when we think of the Church today.

Even Dean’s title to this blog is grossly unfair and undeserving of the Church. Because the Church is much more expansive and extensive than we can think.

To illustrate a couple of points. Fr. J. Bernas is definitely more than just an ordinary member of the Church, since he is also part of its clergy. So hasn’t he shown some good when it comes to the realm of politics? Say, in the constitutional areas? So what about all the “good” politicians, both domestically and abroad, we are also Catholics?

On the other hand, many of US senators today who continue to publicly favor abortion and its now many rights, or gay rights which go beyond those granted to regular citizens of the country, etc. are professed Catholics. So aren’t they also members of the Church?

Lastly I am confused, if Dean continues to proclaim himself Catholic, how can he then frame questions like he were an outsider?

Shouldn't it be more like a self-examination to find out why the gaping estrangement between him and his Faith?

Anonymous said...

Are we then actually doomed to be a poor country because most of us are Roman Catholics.Do R. Catholic countries fair less economically compared to Protestant countries?


raj said...

The Roman Catholic Church and Christianity in general, is the problem. A parasitic species that breeds on 'distress', welcomes it in fact, since it is by such means that it gets a good harvest of souls...the faithful to the 'lies'. It can never be a part of the solution except for a few men in robes who were brave enough to disobey the pope and would no longer tolerate the corruption of reality.

Lets face it, it is a state within a state as Constitutional Law teaches us, the Vatican is a sovereign state.

I reflect on the Philippine Revolution of 1898. It was in fact a war against the church, the 'managerial supervisors' of the Spanish Crown. The Spanish Governor General feared the Friars, with their vast 'friar lands', the most.

I see a similarity in the present times. Hence, the bountiful dol-outs of gambling money.

The Filipino majority has bought the idea of an afterlife traded with the more precious 'here and now'.

True as the joke least you have somewhere to go after death compared to the atheists who have nowhere to go. The price is too much, intellectual integrity is at stake.

If you think that way, Karl Marx reminds you that religion is the opium of the masses.

Jego said...

Pfsh. As usual, a conflation of the Church as God's institution with the Church as an institution run by men. It is the latter that DJB criticizes and not the former.

I forgot who it is who said, "Christianity is a great idea. Too bad no one has ever tried it."

marvin said...

We have to admit the Catholic Church has serious problems as an institution. But it's the only one true Catholic Church that traces itself across time to St. Peter, Christ's anointed, the rock on which He built the church.

The Church has problems, so what are you going to do about it?