Thursday, January 26, 2017

Random Thoughts About Duterte and the Bishops

There's a nasty exchange between President Duterte and Bishop Bacani lately. You must have read about it already, so let me go straight to my thoughts.

As a Catholic who avidly supports Duterte, I can see where each of them comes from.

 Duterte slams Bishop Bacani amid criticism of drug war - See more at:

But who's right? or who's wrong?

We can argue all day long about that. One thing for sure, such a debate won't help the country reach its goals.

Neither will it help the Church. Jesus argued with Scribes and Pharisees, never with local authorities who lived during His time. I'd rather keep my eyes on Jesus on this issue.

Of course, I say that as a member of the laity who, despite my sinfulness, has been called to serve in its ministries and endeavor to study the Word every day. I don't have the intensive training priests went through. That can be why I don't think the way they do.

Who am I? Just a Catholic faithful and a citizen of this country who lives next door.

So, here's my take about what's going on between them:

The President has a nasty mouth. Everyone knows it, here or abroad. The 16 million (or some say the true number is more than 20 million) people who voted for him wrote his name *in spite* of it.

Surely, Bishop Bacani knows it.

People can see where the heart of the President lies. It's the reason for the widespread support -- no less than 8 out of 10 Filipinos now.

Apparently, Bishop Bacani, among others, don't see it.

All they see is the nasty mouth and bloody past, nothing else... or at least nothing else matters as much. That's the part that rattles me. But I bear with it like a cross, knowing that these are God's anointed ones.

You see, these anointed ones are the very same people who'd remind me, and the rest of us, in another context (perhaps during a Yellow presidency?), about what the Church teaches about "Authority"

CCC #1898 Every human community needs an authority to govern it. The foundation of such authority lies in human nature. It is necessary for the unity of the state. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society.

CCC #1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

You can see more about my reflections about "human nature" here - It is an important point, because it is an acknowledgment of the human being as he is, not as he should be (although we should not stop from striving towards the latter).

Now, I understand the Church's reservations about the President. What I do not understand are their statements that are hands down expressions of resistance to a duly elected authority.

So, I am not sure what's at work here. All I have is a hunch...

The Church leaders have been very vocal against Duterte during the campaign period. I find their statements directed towards one person totally uncalled for... now they just have to face the consequences for it.

That person whom they despise is now the President of the Republic... and he happens to have a nasty mouth... and a very sharp memory.

Bishops, we all have crosses to carry. I humbly carry my cross as a Duterte supporter while I serve in mass officiated by someone who publicly lambasts the person I vouch for and bow my head as the celebrant calls people who support Duterte as hypocrites or something like that. Ouch! Grabe, ang sakit po, Father.

Please carry your cross humbly too... and stop resisting the President, following the footsteps of Jesus.

When John the Baptist got arrested, Jesus started his earthly ministry with a call to repentance (not with a call to resist King Herod).

When Jesus himself got arrested, Jesus affirmed the authority of Pilate, the person who ordered his crucifixion and washed his hands after (what a wimp).

Jesus prayed for those who crucified him too. What a lovely prayer, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Bishops, I'll be praying for you, even as I pray for the President and for this country.

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