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"Many Filipinos are what I call Sunday-religious, that is they go to church every Sunday, take in confession and communion, but the rest of the week they bribe and do corrupt deeds..." - Dr. Pura Santillan-Castrence (1905-2007)
"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler
“I helped the poor and they called me a saint, I asked why they were poor and they called me a Communist’ – Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara (1909-1999)
"Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual; the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country." - Karl Kraus, 1874-1936.
A few days ago, Cardinal Rosales said that the Black Nazarene is proof of God’s love and preference for poor people like most Filipinos, recalling that the life of the Savior in Nazareth was marked by "simplicity, humility and sufferings."
Granting that the narratives of Christmas and the Passion of Christ are accurate and true, how can such an imagery be proof of love for the Filipino poor? He lost me there. For the good cardinal and those like him in the medieval past, recent past and the present, their Christian God expects/wants believers to suffer and bear it. (BTW, I still have to hear about any member of the hierarchy to be suffering at the level of our "poorest of the poor.;" not mentioning the latter's suffering in terms of political persecution and/or victimization from military repression and extra-judicial killings.)
This belief is one among the perennial and pernicious teachings from Filipino Catholicism which the hierarchy consistently harps on its unquestioning devotees. Such medieval teaching only fosters passivity, submissiveness, preoccupation with otherworldly and spiritual matters; as if these supposed virtues will solve the real problems faced daily by the believing native/impoverished majority; these supposed virtues which are incompatible to the capacity to claim and exercise one's own rights and only favorable to tyrants of various flavors,in the past and the present.
This Catholic preaching of servitude and dependence continually turns us Filipinos into passive slaves, we know it and do not mind as this "short, earthly life" counts for too little in our believing eyes. Throw in the Beatitudes with its "Blessed are the poor..." and St. Paul's "Love bears all things, endures all things" from his Letters to the Corinthians and ergo we created ourselves as the naive, slavish Filipinos, very well-appreciated by our ruling elite/class and the foreigners who profit from our slave mentality and who laugh themselves on their way to the bank.
Let us not leave out those fellow Filipinos of the "Praise the Lord" or "Born Again" variety, these true believers proclaiming that personal/spiritual salvation is via direct line to their God; who do not believe that "good works" or the common good - which Catholicism preaches and practices to a good degree- are necessary. Of course, their beliefs are consistent to Reformation/Protestant pioneers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, etc.Talk to them about our politics, poverty, etc. and they will expose their narrow-minded, individualistic selfishness and disdain for the poor (especially those who conduct protests in the streets,etc.). So, what else is new about Christianity among us Filipinos?
We witness apathy among us supposedly educated (more aptly, schooled) because our main preoccupation is our selfish selves and our immediate/extended family. "What's in it for me?" is our only frame of reference, consciously or unconsciously. That is why a lot of us schooled Filipinos do materially well, legally and illegally, in the homeland, the USA or other foreign country.
We the supposedly schooled are survivalists, chameleons, opportunists, sycophants, quislings, etc., as copycats of the earlier generations of Filipino ilustrados and their descendants, us who licked/lick the Spanish boots -- then; and now American, local Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. boots to maintain and to expand our social status, wealth and power. To hell with the native majority who have nothing to offer, except maybe a begging hand.
And by the way, we witness apathy among the native majority, "the people", "taong masa" who are deep in poverty and hunger and thus left behind, the poorest of the poor who can not afford to be OFWs-- because their essential human needs, i.e. food, shelter, clothing, etc. are unmet and they are busy struggling to simply and basically exist, not live as those of us who can access the Internet do. As addressed above, most of them consoled and simultaneously misled by the medieval teachings of the Catholic Church.
Fundamentally selfish people usually find ways of accommodating themselves to any regime; many of us Filipinos are selfish and maybe not even know it. If it is despotic (Marcos), we find ways to get into his graces; if it is corrupt (Marcos, Ramos, Aquino, Estrada and now Arroyo), we manage somehow to become corrupted. We Filipinos, schooled or not, are in this vicious circle of rulers being corrupt and the people who are ruled following suit.
There is a connection between the character of a people and its politics, and is demonstrated by the kind of people we send to our elective offices and the resultant governmental policies and priorities. And in our supposed democracy for the few, the connection is emphasized. Ergo, our culture of corruption and our road to perdition, wittingly or unwittingly aided by our Christian religion.
“The rich man may never get to heaven, but the pauper is already serving his term in hell.” - Alexander Chase, 1966
"The rich swell up with pride, the poor from HUNGER." - Sholom Aleichem, 1859-1916, Ukraine-Born American Writer