I HAVE dealt with this topic before but lately I have been inversely motivated to take it up again.
My Faith in Jesus Christ has to be the game-changer in my life. I cannot imagine how my life would have rolled out if I was a non-believer, if I hadn’t been gifted by God with the Faith of my Catholic parents.
It is this Faith that gives me the strength to parry the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” or, in today’s colorful language, life’s “shit that happens.” This I owe to the Spanish friars who brought Catholicism to our shores five centuries ago.
That brings up the question of why I am so sharply critical of the Catholic Church that some people accuse me for it of being a communist. Incidentally, I limit my criticism to the Philippine Catholic Church as I have no inside knowledge of how it behaves in other countries.
Faith indeed transcends yet in no way supplants reason. Faith does not preclude the use of reason in its practice. Reason is God’s more basic gift to all men and women. It precedes Faith and for non-believers it’s their only source of guidance in navigating life’s “sea of troubles.”
A man of faith, therefore, must still use reason in living his faith. He must not approve what the Catholic Church says and does that his reason convinces him is not right, is not Christian and is not even human. And, without taking away credit from the Church for the good things it has done for the country, if we open our mental eyes we should see that enough unchristian and even inhuman things are happening in the Filipino Catholic Church.
One must remember here that our National Hero, Jose Rizal, was executed not for treason (he was only for the Philippines becoming a province of Spain) but for his stinging criticism (in his Noli and Fili) of misbehaving Spanish friars. For that matter, Jesus Christ was put to death on the cross on the instigation of the heads of the Jewish Church whom he publicly chastised as whitened sepulchers or hypocrites.
Christianity is a religion of brotherly love. Early Christians were quite dutiful in practicing “fraternal correction”, their way of showing love to erring fellow Christians; which is just what I am trying to do. I criticize in the spirit of fraternal correction out of my desire for the Church to do better at helping the Filipino people fight for a higher quality of life, a situation that is sorely lacking for many in this only Christian country in the Far East.
It is my firm belief that the Philippine Catholic Church would be of greater service to the Filipino people if its members were to stop being blindly submissive to religious leaders and instead dare to fraternally correct them of sundry equivocal ideas and actions.