A cultural revolution takes a mighty long time to produce the desired result of a critical-thinking, self-respecting, principled and patriotic new Filipino. But just to start it might even take a much longer time.
The determinant element of Filipino culture is the Catholic religion. It is the religion Spain used to bring us down to our knees and submit to colonial rule. It is the religion of 85% of the population who to this day are culturally conditioned to accept life’s misfortunes as the God-willed narrow path towards eternal life.
That makes the Church’s elite rulers - bishops and clergy - the most influential moving force for cultural change... if they want to. But there’s the rub. They appear to be the most reluctant group to change. Like their partner oligarchs who lord it over politics and the economy, they cannot seem to step down from the high pedestal Filipino culture has placed them.
Hence, we might have to wait a long time to start a cultural revolution in this country because the most influential institution is showing no sign of being interested in any change other than the most superficial. Instead it is making itself into a stumbling block to the country’s need to start viewing reality through modern or post-modern and not medieval lenses, to re-prioritize its values, and to flatten the nation into a society of equals.
Catholic bishops and priests, with few exceptions, are refusing to admit that 500 years of Catholicism have so far produced a society of an elite enclave of arrogant, mostly corrupt, and insensitive leaders, all of them devout Catholics, and a majority of subservient and dependent religiously fanatic followers.
This is clearly a failure of religion, a failure which the Catholic Church shows no signs of admitting as it continues to preach a religion of passivity to life’s harsh realities. It still preaches the conquering Christ of medieval Catholic Spain and not the liberating, just and equitable Christ the Philippines sorely needs today.
The quincentennial celebration is almost over; yet again there are no signs the Catholic Church is examining and evaluating its evangelization methods and priorities. We could be looking at another 500 years of a spiritually vacuous ritual-oriented Catholicism that is propping up society’s two-tiered structure that puts an elite few economic, political, and, yes, religious leaders on top and many poor and powerless followers below.
Given that scenario, the new Filipino, at least the Catholic segment as I obviously cannot speak for other religions, might have to be irreligious and not so obsequious to the Church to become genuinely Christian and work to move our society towards justice and peace.