FAST BACKWARD: Catholic Church under fire

Fast Backward by Antonio V. FigueroaIt’s public knowledge that one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s favorite whipping boy is the Catholic Church. Earlier on he started his harangue by disclosing he was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest when he was a young kid studying at Ateneo de Davao. For one reason or another, he would spew more venom at the drop of a pin against the same ecclesiastical institution.

But there are vital facts about the Catholic Church that need to be appreciated as well.

An article written by Sam Miller, a prominent Cleveland, Ohio, Jewish businessman exposes many interesting details the media and politicians prefer to overlook when discussing the role of the Catholic Church, particularly in the United States. The item, title The Catholic Church, was shared to us by a former nun through the social media. It goes:

“Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the U.S., namely the Catholic Church?

“Do you know–the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students every day at the cost to that Church of $10B, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of $18B. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.

“The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S., with an enrollment of 700,000 students. The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people–not just Catholics–in the U.S. today.

“But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.

“Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed.

“Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is NOT a Catholic problem.

“A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

“The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now and a number of bishops who failed to act.

“Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: ‘Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’.

“Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic!”

In the Philippines, the situation is a bit different given that the Catholic Church is the predominant religion. But it is interestingly to ask why the government, given the similar incidents that happen in the US, has been vitriolic towards an institution whose only fault is having a handful of sexual perverts in her ranks?

Why is the government not openly attacking another denomination whose rise to fame is in its way of using political favors in making candidates win after being promised ‘donations’? Why is the state shut to the abuses of another sect (or cult) which has been using its members in selling goods at the expense of getting hungry at times? And why is the state is more concerned about religion than the dishonesty that’s slowly consuming the government

This strengthening pattern of maligning church institutions and indirectly blaming them for government oversights has become so vicious that the state has forgotten that within its bureaucratic walls there are more sexual perverts than there is in any church. Sadly, there are more corrupt persons in a bureaucracy than there are crooks in all Philippine churches combined!

Catholics like me do not use the church to ensure a politico’s win. Catholics do not coerce tithes by using the Bible as template for material considerations. The Catholic Church, despite its foibles and iniquities, survives by the grace of God, not through the donations of immoral institutions or the pretensions of certain individuals.