Friday, December 30, 2016

Is Duterte anti-Christ? A reply to Mocha Uson



A. WHAT IS AN ANTICHRIST?

In her Philippine Star article, Is CBCP anti-Christ?, Mocha Uson used the word anti-Christ loosely as to mean something opposite to what Christianity teaches:
Christianity is founded on love. It espouses the doctrine of loving thy neighbor, not judging others, and forgiveness.  However, the way the Philippine Catholic Church has been acting is the total opposite of what Christianity preaches.
This is a very loose definition of anti-Christ, so I simply titled my previous article as "Is CBCP against Christ?" Even though "anti" is the same as the word "against", the term antichrist has biblical connotations, as written in the letters of St. John the Apostle:
Children, it is the last hour;* and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.n19 They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;* if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 20 But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one,* and you all have knowledge.o 21 I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.p22* Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.q23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.r (1 Jn 2:18-23)
Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.a2 This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God,b3 and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus* does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.c (1 Jn 4:1-3)
So the antichrist is someone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God Who became Man. The Catholic Church as a whole (the CBCP is included here) does not deny Jesus is the Christ. In fact, every Sunday Mass, Catholics recite the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed:
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, (At the words that follow up to and including and became man, all bow) and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

B. ANTICHRISTS IN HISTORY

Throughout history, there have been many antichrists. We shall only list them down in 3 periods divided by approximately 666 years.

1. Saul and Judaism (~33 AD)

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read about the man Saul, a Jew who was out to destroy the Christians in 33 AD. The stoning of Stephen before his eyes was just the start of the wave of persecutions led by Saul:
On that day, there broke out a severe persecution* of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.* 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. 3 Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church;* entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment. (Acts 8:1-3)
Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,a went to the high priestb2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,* he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.3 On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.c4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”d 5 He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.e6 Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”(Acts 9:1-6)
The curious thing here is that by persecuting the Christians, Saul is actually persecuting Christ. The Christians who make up the Church, therefore, is the Mystical Body of Christ. Saul, after his conversion in the road to Damascus, talks about the Church as the Body of Christ:
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.g13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.h...Now the body is not a single part, but many....But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.19
If they were all one part, where would the body be?20 But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body....If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.
This explains why if one part of Christ's body suffers from persecution, the whole Body of Christ feels the pain, so that Christ would say, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Until today, the Jews still deny the Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah promised by God in the Old Testament.

2. Muhammad and Islam (~666 AD)

After the death of Muhammad in 632 AD, Islam became an established religion that denies the divinity of Christ:
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion that upholds that God is one and incomparable[7] and that the purpose of existence is to worship God.[8] Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last prophet of God...Muslims also believe that Islam is the original, complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God.  Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment...Islam is often seen as having the simplest doctrines of the major religions.[3] Its most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd (Arabic: توحيد‎‎). God is described in chapter 112 of the Quran as: "Say, He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him" (112:1-4).Muslims repudiate polytheism and idolatry, called Shirk, and reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and Muslims are not expected to visualize God. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahmān, meaning "The Compassionate" and Al-Rahīm, meaning "The Merciful" (See Names of God in Islam)(Wikipedia: Islam)
By claiming to be the last prophet of God, Muhammad fulfills the words of Christ regarding false prophets and messiahs that would come after him:
If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. 26 So if they say to you, ‘He is in the desert,’ do not go out there; if they say, ‘He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.*27k For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. (Mt 24:23-28)

3. John Wycliffe and Protestantism (~1332 AD)

The history of Protestantism began with Wyclife, Hus, and Luther:

One of the early Protestant reformers was John Wycliffe, a theologian and an early proponent of reform in the 14th century. He influenced Jan Hus, a Czech priest from Prague, who in turn influenced German Martin Luther, who sparked the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church. (Wikipedia: History of Protestantism)
Let's check out some Protestant doctrines of Wyclife:
Wycliffe had come to regard the scriptures as the only reliable guide to the truth about God, and maintained that all Christians should rely on the Bible rather than on the teachings of popes and clerics. He said that there was no scriptural justification for the papacy.[20]
Theologically, his preaching expressed a strong belief in predestination that enabled him to declare an "invisible church of the elect", made up of those predestined to be saved, rather than in the "visible" Catholic Church.[21] To Wycliffe, the Church was the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation.
His first tracts and greater works of ecclesiastical-political content defended the privileges of the State. By 1379 in his De ecclesia ("On the Church"), Wycliffe clearly claimed the supremacy of the king over the priesthood.[22] He rejected the concept of purgatory,[13] and disapproved of clerical celibacy, pilgrimages, the selling of indulgences and praying to saints.[20] (Wikipedia: John Wyclife)

If Muhammad is an antichrist by removing the divinity of Christ, Wyclife and Protestants are antichrists by chopping the Body of Christ, the Church, into pieces, through their doctrines of "Faith alone" and "Bible alone". Like a wooden ship that hits a rock, after being tossed to and fro by endless doctrinal disputes, Protestantism split into thousands of sects:
While the World Christian Encyclopedia does refer to "only" 9000 or so denominations as "Protestant" the source also includes 22,000 or so denominations as "Independent" and if you look at the names of these "Independent" groups above, you'll see most of them are clearly Protestant (the "Apostolic", the "Charismatic", the "Full Gospel", the house or home churches, the pentecostals, probably all the TV/radio Christians, and all the independents of other Protestant denominations listed, etc). None of these are Catholic or Orthodox, but there appear to be some renegade Orthodox, Anglicans, and schismatic Catholics among the "Independents." The largest of these Independent Christians are "White-led charismatic" (17,478,000 members [year 1995], in 2856 separate denominations [year 2000]), "African independent pentecostal" (18,943,000 members [year 1995], in 5385 separate denominations [year 2000]), and "African neocharismatic of mixed traditions" (1,500,000 members [year 1995], in 3333 separate denominations [year 2000]). These three are all Protestant (neither Catholic, nor Orthodox) and account for more than half (53%) of the 22,000 "Independent" denominations. (Philvaz)
The Church is the Body of Christ. Outside the Church there is no salvation, so there is no refuge in Protestantism. As Christ said:
 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.6* c Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. (Jn 15;5-6)
4. Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Communism (1848~Present)

Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, with Friedrich Engels as co-writer. The Communist Manifesto replaced the Salvation History whose apex is Christ with a materialist historical framework based on class struggle theory:
The first section of the Manifesto, "Bourgeois and Proletarians", elucidates the materialist conception of history, that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles". Societies have always taken the form of an oppressed majority living under the thumb of an oppressive minority. In capitalism, the industrial working class, or proletariat, engage in class struggle against the owners of the means of production, the bourgeoisie. As before, this struggle will end in a revolution that restructures society, or the "common ruin of the contending classes". The bourgeoisie, through the "constant revolutionising of production [and] uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions" have emerged as the supreme class in society, displacing all the old powers of feudalism. The bourgeoisie constantly exploits the proletariat for its labour power, creating profit for themselves and accumulating capital. However, in doing so, the bourgeoisie serves as "its own grave-diggers"; the proletariat inevitably will become conscious of their own potential and rise to power through revolution, overthrowing the bourgeoisie. (Wikipedia: Communist Manifesto)
While Islam denies Christ's divinity and Protestants deny the unity of Christ's Body the Church, Communism denies religion as a whole:
Question 22. Do Communists reject existing religions?
Answer: All religions which have existed hitherto were expressions of historical
stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But
communism is that stage of historical development which makes all existing
religions superfluous and supersedes them. (Communist Manifesto)
But Engels, the co-writer of the Manifesto, originally conceived of Communism as a religion with a Creed or a Profession of Faith:
In spring 1847 Marx and Engels joined the League of the Just, who were quickly convinced by the duo's ideas of "critical communism". At its First Congress in 2–9 June, the League tasked Engels with drafting a "profession of faith", but such a document was later deemed inappropriate for an open, non-confrontational organisation. Engels nevertheless wrote the "Draft of the Communist Confession of Faith", detailing the League's programme. A few months later, in October, Engels arrived at the League's Paris branch to find that Moses Hess had written an inadequate manifesto for the group, now called the League of Communists. In Hess's absence, Engels severely criticised this manifesto, and convinced the rest of the League to entrust him with drafting a new one. This became the draft Principles of Communism, described as "less of a credo and more of an exam paper."
....In all, the Manifesto was written over 6–7 weeks. Although Engels is credited as co-writer, the final draft was penned exclusively by Marx. From the 26 January letter, Laski infers that even the League considered Marx to be the sole draftsman (and that he was merely their agent, imminently replaceable). Further, Engels himself wrote in 1883 that "The basic thought running through the Manifesto ... belongs solely and exclusively to Marx." Although Laski doesn't disagree, he suggests that Engels underplays his own contribution with characteristic modesty, and points out the "close resemblance between its substance and that of the [Principles of Communism]". Laski argues that while writing the Manifesto Marx drew from the "joint stock of ideas" he developed with Engels, "a kind of intellectual bank account upon which either could draw freely."[2] (Wikipedia: The Communist Manifesto)
Communism overthrew the government in Russia in 1917 and that of China in 1949. The red flag of Communism was raised in Russia and China creating a Red Dragon hostile to the Christian faith. In 1991, Communist Russia collapsed, but China still remains, persecuting the faithful Chinese Catholics, destroying Church buildings, and installing new bishops without the approval of Vatican. Let us pray for the conversion of China and Russia to Christianity, just as Saul was converted by Christ on the road to Damascus.

C. IS DUTERTE ANTICHRIST?

1. Like Antichrists in History


Since Mocha Uson proposed the thesis that CBCP is anti-Christ, let us also make the counter thesis that Duterte is antichrist. To prove our thesis statement, we shall show how Duterte is similar to the characteristics of antichrists we discussed earlier.
  • Like Saul, Duterte wishes to destroy the Church: "I will destroy the Church and the present status of so many priests and what they are doing." (Inquirer)
  • Like Luther, Duterte wishes to establish his own Church: "“There is something new these days. Iglesia ni Duterte naay bag-o. Walay bawal-bawal puwede lima ka asawa. Pero saw-a ang problema (Iglesia ni Duterte, where there is no prohibition, you can even have five wives. But make sure you are responsible for your problems). (The Philippine Star)
  • Like Muhammad, Duterte believes in Allah and the use of violence in his war against the infidels (drug addicts): //Duterte also said that he believes there is a God and he believes in Allah, but he does not believe in religion, particularly the Catholic Church because it is sowing fear among its faithful about the existence of heaven and hell. “Do not believe it. That is what that religion is all about, they are instilling fear that you will go to hell if you are a sinner. But you will only know if there is indeed a hell if you die,” the President said. // (The Philippine Star). //“Hitler massacred three million Jews ... there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”// (The Guardian)
  • And like Marx, Duterte leans towards Communism: //"I heard the entire communist hierarchy wanted to talk to me in Davao, but I was short of time, sabi ko dito na lang (so I said better to have it here). So this would really be the first time that the enemies of the state are here for what you would call civility. Just because we are in a war, it doesn’t mean to say that we have to be at war at all times. We can always talk and maybe it will bring peace to the land.// (The Philippine Star) "Hoy! Wala nang komunista! That is an ideology that is long gone." "Wala nang komunista ngayon," Duterte added. "The communist party is just for control, para hindi sasabog. There are billions of them. Kung sabihin mo na sa commune na magtrabaho tayo lahat, those were the propaganda days of the Americans during the Cold War." (ABS-CBN) Sounds good to be true, except that the Communist Party of the Philippines is still alive and he is talking with the party's chief officers.
The similarity between Duterte and other antichrists is unsettling.

B. Devil's Advocate

Duterte is also a liar and a murderer:
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said only fools would believe his “joke” that God talked to him and made him promise to stop cursing. “Ang mga buang, naniwala rin. Hindi naman ako Bar topnotcher pero di naman ako ganoong kagago,” he said in a speech during an event hosted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. (Those fools fell for it. I'm not a Bar topnotcher but I'm not that stupid.)  “Ang paborito ko sa Davao magbiro ng kung ano-ano." (ABS-CBN)
"I killed about three of them... I don't know how many bullets from my gun went inside their bodies. It happened and I cannot lie about it.... In Davao I used to do it [kill] personally. Just to show to the guys [police] that if I can do it why can't you.... And I'd go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill." (BBC)
Liar and murderer. Haven't we heard those two words before? Ah, yes. They were spoken by Christ Himself:
If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.z43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. (Jn 8:42-44)
C. Duterte's Blasphemy

The Church is the Body of Christ, as we showed in the story of the conversion of St. Paul. The Holy Eucharist that priests consecrate during each Holy <ass is also the Body of Christ, but much more:
1374 The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend."201 In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained."202 "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."203
1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."206
1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.207 (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
But what does Duterte say of the Body of Christ?
“Body of Christ sa inyong igit (in your poop), (The Philippine Star)
The Spirit that drives Duterte is nothing less than diabolic---spirit of the antichrist, the spirit of rebellion against God.

CONCLUSION

Since Mocha Uson proposed the thesis that CBCP is anti-Christ, let us also make the counter thesis that Duterte is antichrist. To prove our thesis statement, we shall show how Duterte is similar to antichrists in history. Like Saul, Duterte wishes to destroy the Church. Like Luther, Duterte wishes to establish his own Church, Iglesia ni Duterte. Like Muhammad, Duterte believes in Allah and the use of violence in his war against the infidels (drug addicts). And like Marx, Duterte is a Communist. Duterte is diabolic: he is a liar and a murderer, like Satan himself of whom Christ said: "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies."

May God rebuke Duterte for his blasphemy. May God grant him the grace of conversion on his deathbed, like the repentant thief beside Christ on the cross. All these we ask through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Is CBCP against Christ: A 7-point reply to Mocha Uson


Mocha Uson has written a column in Philippine Star: Is CBCP anti-Christ? I shall highlight some of her statements (though I believe they were written by somebody else with a Protestant faith background) and reply to each one of them.

1. Christianity is founded on love. It espouses the doctrine of loving thy neighbor, not judging others, and forgiveness. However, the way the Philippine Catholic Church has been acting is the total opposite of what Christianity preaches.

Christianity is founded on love, it is true:
For God so loved the world that he gave* his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (Jn 3:16)
It is also true that Christianity espouses loving thy neighbor, but this is not complete: Christianity also espouses loving God. Loving God and neighbor are two sides of the coin which cannot be separated. As Christ said:
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 k The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40* l The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments. (Mt 22:37-40)
And if our love for God conflicts with our love for our neighbor, God should always come first. The story of St. Thomas More would remind us of this:
In 1509, when the new eighteen-year-old king, Henry VIII, married a young Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon, the marriage came with the blessing of Pope Julius II, in the form of a dispensation from an injunction found in the Bible's Leviticus.  The dispensation was deemed necessary because Catherine had been briefly married to Henry's older brother, Arthur, raising the question of whether Henry's marriage violated Leviticus 20:21: "If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing...they shall be childless."  The fact that Arthur remained ill throughout the six-month-long marriage until his death, and that therefore the marriage--if Catherine is to be believed--was never consummated, doubtless made the case an easier one for Pope Julius than it otherwise might have been.
By early 1526, however, King Henry's affection had turned from Catherine to the beautiful Anne Boleyn.... Later in the fall, Henry took the unusual step of visiting More at his home in Chelsea to take up again his "great matter."  In a scene memorialized in Robert Bolt's great play, A Man for All Seasons, the King walked the gardens with his arm around the neck of his trusted councilor.  Henry and More differed, in the end, over the matter of papal supremacy.  The King argued that Leviticus made his marriage a crime in God's eyes--and that no Pope had the power to waive the Biblical injunction.  More, on the other hand, accepted papal supremacy as a matter of faith, and tended to view Pope Julius's 1509 dispensation as conclusive. (The Trial of Sir Thomas More)
Because of More's obstinacy, the English Court judged him a traitor. Before he was beheaded, More said: "I die the King's good servant, and God's first."

The actual words of Christ regarding judging others is this:
“Stop judging,* that you may not be judged.b2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. (Mt 7:1-2)
This is not an absolute prohibition, but rather a warning: we must think twice about making judgments, because "the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you." Otherwise, we won't have the judges in courts of laws, and everyone will interpret the law by appealing to their individual consciences to the destruction of society. Actually, Mocha Uson already broke her rule of not being judgmental by saying: "the way the Philippine Catholic Church has been acting is the total opposite of what Christianity preaches." Is this not a form of judgment? So why can Mocha Uson judge and not CBCP?

The power of the bishops to judge comes from the Apostles whose office they assume through the laying of hands (ordination). Pope Francis, for example, is called the Successor of Peter. Each Catholic bishop in the world (and that includes the Philippines) can trace his apostolic succession to one of the Apostles. An apostle ordained a person a bishop who in turn ordained another bishop, etc., down to our present day. Since Christ said to the Peter and the Apostles:
Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.
 The Church is the New Israel. And the judges in the New Israel are Bishops who are the successors of the apostles. Thus, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) can judge.

2. The power of the Catholic Church is one of the things Jose Rizal fought against because the Church was able to use its power and influence in Spain to dictate who should be the Governor General of the Philippines. Because of this they accused Jose Rizal of being a cultist and an enemy who was going against the teachings of the church. You should know that back then fighting against the church could cost you your life or you could be excommunicated.

First, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has power by virtue of Patronato Real which made the King and Queen of Spain patrons of the Church, giving them rights to appoint clerics in exchange for shouldering the costs of the Catholic missions, such as building of churches:
 Upon the return of Columbus from his first trip to America, the rulers of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, immediately asked Pope Alexander VI for documents affirming their right to the recently discovered territory (see alexandrine bulls). Through letters issued in 1493, the Holy Father charged these rulers with the spiritual conquest of the natives of the New World, making concessions so broad and vague that they lent themselves to differing interpretations...Since the rights acquired by the king over the territories of the Indies were not clarified, the grant of general patronage was issued again during the papacy of Julius II. On July 28, 1508, the bull Universalis ecclesiae was issued; it gave the rulers of Castile and León the right in perpetuity to grant permission for the construction of "large churches" and to propose proper persons for the offices and benefices of the cathedrals, collegiate churches, monasteries and other pious places. It stipulated that presentations for benefices decreed in consistory were to be made to the pope and all the rest of the bishops. (Encyclopedia.com)
Second, the Catholic Church has power in the same way that a father has power over his children. Without the fathers of the church who go out to all the villages from the seashore to the mountaintops, baptizing the heathens and teaching them Christian doctrine, there would be no Philippine Nation to speak of: we would either be Muslims now or Pagans worshiping our anitos. We would be still in the mountains headhunting or engaging in gross sexual immorality as documented by Morga in his Sucesos de las Islas de Filipinas which was annotated by Jose Rizal. It is really a tragedy that the children of the Church have now turned against their fathers. As Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ puts it:
But look at it another way.   Look at it through the eyes of a Spanish friar who found himself a prisoner of the Army of the Revolution.  He was the last of a long line of missionaries, stretching back to that great defender of Rights, Fray Domingo de Salazar.  They had brought this whole people from primitive tribalism to civilization.  They had raised from stones children of Abraham.  And in the end, the children had turned on their fathers.
It was not only tragic; it was the very essence of tragedy 
–Fr. Horacio de la Costa, “The Priest in the Philippine Life and Society: An Historical View,” in Church and Sacraments, ed. by Ma. Victoria B. Parco (Office of Research and Publications, Ateneo de Manila University, 1990), pp. 192-200.
And third, the Catholic Church has power because Christ gave it the power to bind and loose, and thereby pronounce judgment:
“If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.16* i If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17j If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.* If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
18* k Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt 18:15-18)
One of the ways the Catholic Church exercises its power of binding and loosing is in the confessional where the priest absolves your sins, provided that you state them by name and number and you do the required penance to compensate for the damage done by your sin, e.g. return the iPhone that you stole, pay the debts that you owe, return to your first husband, etc. Another way is excommunicating a member of the Church, treating him like a Gentile or a tax collector, i,e., shunned in public and those who are excommunicated cannot receive the Sacraments. If you believe that Christ is the only mediator between God and Man, the Church is the Body of Christ (Eph 5:29-30), then it follows that if you are cut off from the Church through excommunication, you won't be saved. This is the essence of the Catholic doctrine of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" or "Outside the Church There is No Salvation":

846....Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336 (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

3. One of the notable persons who were excommunicated for fighting against the church was Martin Luther. He fought against the corrupt practice where people must pay for the forgiveness of their sins and for their soul to go to heaven.

This is a simplistic analysis. At the core of Luther's 95 theses is the doctrine of Purgatory which all Catholics must believe:
The first thesis has become famous: "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent,' he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." In the first few theses Luther develops the idea of repentance as the Christian's inner struggle with sin rather than the external system of sacramental confession.[20] Theses 5–7 then state that the pope can only release people from the punishments he has administered himself or through the church's system of penance, not the guilt of sin. The pope is only able to announce God's forgiveness of the guilt of sin in his name.[21] In theses 14–16, Luther challenged common beliefs about purgatory, and in theses 17–24 he asserts that nothing can be definitively said about the spiritual state of people in purgatory. He denies that the pope has any power over people in purgatory in theses 25 and 26. In theses 27–29, he attacks the idea that as soon as payment is made, the payer's loved one is released from purgatory. He sees it as encouraging sinful greed and impossible to be certain because only God has ultimate power in forgiving punishments in purgatory.[22]
If you are sinless, you go straight to heaven when you die; if you committed an unrepented mortal sin, you go to hell. But what if you committed lesser sins called venial sins? Will you go to heaven or to hell? If these questions are difficult to imagine, let's use the analogy of Pres. Duterte's war against drugs. If you posses illegal drugs, you get killed by the police. If you don't possess illegal drugs, you live. But what does it mean "to possess"? How many kilos of shabu is needed before you can be said "to possess shabu"? Is it 1 kilogram? One teaspoon? One speck? One grain? Do you deserve death if one grain of shabu is found in your clothing? The same is true in After Life: Do you deserve hell if you committed a venial sin, or perhaps a sin of intention but not of deed, as when you get a knife and approach a man to kill him without his knowledge, then change your mind, and not do the deed, as what happened to Hamlet?
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; and now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven; and so am I revenged. That would be scann'd: a villain kills my father; and for that, (80) I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven. O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.  He took my father grossly, full of bread; with all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May; and how his audit stands who knows save heaven? But in our circumstance and course of thought, 'tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged, to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and season'd for his passage? (90) No! Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent: when he is drunk asleep, or in his rage, or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed; at game, a-swearing, or about some act that has no relish of salvation in't; then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven, and that his soul may be as damn'd and black as hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays: this physic but prolongs thy sickly days. (Shakespeare-online)
That is why the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory is the most consoling thing. If we commit a small sin, we can still go to heaven, except that we have to make amends for our sins if not in this life, then in the life to come in Purgatory. The souls in Purgatory cannot anymore gain merit for themselves, so they rely on us the living to make amends for them, just like if you are sick: you can barely walk or stand or eat, so you rely on others to help you do so. Just like the story of the paralytic in the Gospel:
When Jesus returned to Capernauma after some days, it became known that he was at home.* 2 Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.3 They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.5* When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”* Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,7 “Why does this man speak that way?* He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”b8 Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?10* But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”—11 he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”12 He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
Notice that it was not the faith of the paralytic which made Jesus, as God, forgive his sins and heal him, but rather the faith of the persons who lowered him from the rooftop. It follows then that those in Purgatory can still be forgiven of their sins through the faith of the living. This is the Doctrine of "Communion of the Saints" which we always recite in the Apostles' Creed during Mass: The Church Triumphant (in heaven) and the Church Militant (on earth) help those who are in the Church Suffering (Purgatory). When the souls in Purgatory are freed to go to heaven, they join the Church Triumphant to pray for us the living and of the dead who are still in Purgatory. We all help each other to go to heaven.

Just like in the human body: if most of cells, tissues, and organs of our body are well, then we can easily recover from flu or wounds: the healthy cells help the weak cells. So whatever the healthy cells take to remain healthy also helps in the recovery of the weak cells. Since the Church is the Body of Christ, whatever spiritual good we do, redounds to the rest of the body as well, as when we ingest a medicine in the stomach, and the medicine gets transported to all cells of the body through the veins and arteries. There are three things that we can do to help the poor souls in Purgatory: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting--things we can offer to God for the good of the poor souls. There is also the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The spiritual works of mercy are (1) instruct the ignorant, (2) counsel the doubtful, (3) admonish sinners, (4) bear wrongs patiently, (4) forgive the sinners, (5) comfort the sorrowing, (5) pray for the living and the dead. Writing this blog post, for example, is a form of the first and second spiritual works of mercy. On the other hand, the corporal works of mercy are (1) feed the hungry, (2) give water to the thirsty, (3) clothe the naked, (4) shelter the homeless, (5) visit the sick, (6) visit the imprisoned, and (7) bury the dead. But what if you cannot do these things? Well, you can give money to charitable institutions like Caritas Manila which specializes on one of these tasks. During the time of Martin Luther, you may also donate for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, and such donations can be decreed by the Pope to help the poor souls in Purgatory because of Church's power of binding and loosing as we discussed earlier, and this power extends even to those in Purgatory. These donations have a corresponding virtue of lessening the sentence of the souls in Purgatory. In human terms, if they are imprisoned for 40 years, a particular donation can lessen such stay by 1 year or 5 years. This system of indulgences (kindness) may be abused, that is why the Church limited such donations for indulgences only within the span of 8 years--roughly the expected time to gather funds to construct the basilica.

4. Let’s not forget that the church is an organization wherein they have no tax. Allegedly, they have investments from the oligarchs who are being protected by the Aquinos. In the end, it seems like it’s all about the money. Catholic Church without money is a dying church, it has lost a lot of followers due to some issues surrounding some of their priests.In the end, it seems like it’s all about the money. Catholic Church without money is a dying church, it has lost a lot of followers due to some issues surrounding some of their priests.

Let us also not forget that it is not only the Catholic Church which does not pay tax. There is also the Iglesia ni Manalo (INC), Church of Quiboloy, and other Protestant Churches. The schools and universities also do not pay tax. The government decided that those who promote the good of the country in the form of charitable institutions (remember the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy?) should not be taxed.

Surprisingly, it is when the Church has no money that it becomes spiritually more alive, and especially more so if the Church is persecuted and stripped of her possessions, as what happened during the Roman Empire, the Protestant Reformation, and Rise of Communism and Nazism. It was only when the Catholic Church became complacent on its missionary activity and became enamored by worldly things---false ecumenism, Protestant liturgies, Marxist theologies, LGBT advocacy, etc.--that the Church lost its saltiness, so it is now being thrown to the ground to be trampled underfoot. And yet, whenever the Church appears to be dying, the Holy Spirit never fails to raise up saints and new religious movements. The Franciscans were born when the Church became opulent; the Dominicans, during the rise of Albigensian heresy; and the Jesuits, during the Protestant Reformation. In the last 40 years, when the vocations for priesthood and religious life has dried up, we see the rise of religious communities led by the Laity, such as Couples for Christ, Lingkod ng Panginoon, and The Feast.

The Church may have lost followers because of the actions of some of its priests, especially those involving pedophilia and homosexuality. That is why the Catholic Church has recently reaffirmed that those who have homosexual tendencies should be denied the priesthood:
199. In relation to persons with homosexual tendencies who seek admission to Seminary, or discover such a situation in the course of formation, consistent with her own Magisterium, "the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'. Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies."
200. "Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem--for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate." [...]
201. In summary, seminarians must be reminded and, at the same time, it must not be kept from them, that "the desire alone to become a priest is not sufficient, and there does not exist a right to receive sacred ordination. it belongs to the Church [...] to discern the suitability of him who desires to enter the seminary, to accompany him during his years of formation, and to call him to holy orders if he is judged to possess the necessary qualities."
5. If they will claim that they’re fighting for what is right, then why don’t they speak against Sen. De Lima and her affair with Ronnie Dayan who is married? Why do they focus on the inappropriate jokes and remarks of President Duterte? Why do they bring up “Thou shall not kill” with regards to the “EJK” issue but quiet on De Lima’s affair which is against “Thou shall not commit adultery”?

First, we must be clear that adultery and extra-judicial killing are both wrong, because they are against the 6th and 5th Commandments. But we must also recognize the degree of the effects of these sins on the country. De Lima's adultery affects her person alone and the family of him she had relations. But Duterte's extra-judicial killings affect more families, not only of the drug users and pushers, but also of the policemen who carry out such killings. Such killings also destroy the "rule of law" which we, the Sovereign Filipino People, promised to uphold in our Constitution:
We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution. (Preamble, Philippine Constitution)
 So that instead of the Constitution, Darwin's Law of Evolution: survival of the fittest, removal of the unfit. This is similar to the Law of Shishio in Rurouni Kenshin, i.e. the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong:
Shishio: I was almost assassinated; when my wounds had finally healed and I tried coming out, the Meiji government had succeeded in ending the violence. Now they who tried to eliminate me won't send a single troop against me for fear of looking weak before the Western powers. This weak government. I cannot leave this country to such a weak government. If the violence was ended, I'll awaken it! I'll seize control! I'll make this country strong. Justice will be served when the country is mine.
Kenshin: But for this justice, blood will flow. The blood of those who now live in peace...
Shishio: Well, after all, in this world the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong. But I never could persuade you of that. (Aoshi2012)
 Like Shishio, Duterte despises the weak Philippine government. And like Shishio, Duterte promotes extra-judicial killings to promote his cause.

6. Now if the very nature of God is love, then why does his “messengers” preach the opposite which is hate and forgiving with conditions? ... Now, should forgiveness come with a condition? If I ask you, do we have to wait for our enemies to ask for forgiveness before we forgive them? I believe that the answer is in Matthew 6: 14-15: “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15: But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” If Jesus himself can forgive his enemies and even asked his Father “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”…if Jesus himself can forgive regardless of whether they asked for it or not, then who are we to deny that to our enemies?

Question: Can Mocha Uson (or her ghost writer) forgive the Bishops for not forgiving Marcos? If she forgives the CBCP, then there is no more reason for writing an article condemning the CBCP. Isn't forgiveness absolute and unconditional? Does she still have to wait for CBCP to forgive the Marcoses before she can forgive the CBCP?

We have to make distinctions. It is possible for a father to forgive the man who killed his son, as King Priam forgave Achilles for the death of Hector:
I had fifty when Achaea’s sons arrived—nineteen born from the same mother’s womb, others the women of the palace bore me. 610 Angry Ares drained the life of most of them. But I had one left, guardian of our city, protector of its people. You’ve just killed him, as he was fighting for his native country. [500] I mean Hector. For his sake I’ve come here, to Achaea’s ships, to win him back from you. And I’ve brought a ransom beyond counting. So Achilles, show deference to the gods and pity for myself, remembering your own father. Of the two old men, 620 I’m more pitiful, because I have endured what no living mortal on this earth has borne—I’ve lifted up to my own lips and kissed the hands of the man who killed my son. (Iliad, Bk 24)
Here, King Priam did not go to Achilles to seek revenge, but justice: a dead son deserves a decent burial by his own father. Then Achilles remembered his own father whose only son he was, and wept with the king.

It is possible to forgive, but the damage done must be recompensed. If you broke a vase, you must replace it. If you injured a man, you must pay for his hospitalization. If you killed a man, then you must pay the family, because you have killed their bread earner---and the court may also require you to serve your sentence in jail for homicide. This is justice. If this is difficult to imagine, suppose a girl has a boyfriend who failed to remember their anniversary by not giving her flowers or chocolates on that date. Then he told her that he was sorry. And girl will say, "Sorry is not enough." So the man decided to bring her to a fine restaurant and asked a string quartet to play for them while they have a romantic dinner by candlelight. And the girl's anger was appeased. And suppose after a few months of engagement the man did not show up in the wedding, to the disgrace of the bride. Ah, this is a graver fault and a thousand "Sorry"'s would be enough if the deed was intentionally done. The man may have to wait years before the woman is willing to be courted again by the man and the deeds must match his words, e.g. give up his lucrative job abroad or stand in the rain for the whole evening or work without pay in the farm for seven years. Words are cheap. A man is judged by his deeds.

In the case of Pres. Marcos, if justice cannot be obtained because he cannot anymore be prosecuted or sent to jail for the loss of many lives and ill-gotten wealth during Martial Law, we turn to the remaining family of Pres. Marcos to recompense the families of the victims and the return of ill-gotten wealth. What if they are not willing to pay the damages they brought? One small symbolic act is to deprive Pres. Marcos the honor to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Grave of Heroes). Marcos can be given decent burial anywhere in the Philippines---anywhere except in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Otherwise, it would be a contradictory to celebrate EDSA Revolution and at the same time honor Pres. Marcos with the burial befitting heroes. The country cannot celebrate both events and at the same retain its historical sanity.

Who shall give justice when the tyrants of this world die? Who shall deliver justice to them? How will they pay for their crimes? This is the good news of Catholic teaching: there is a way for tyrants to pay in the After Life and that is either through Purgatory or through Hell. And the righteous who are victims of injustice would rise again to a new life, with their bodies healed of their hurts. This is the Resurrection of the Dead. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Encyclical Spe Salvi:
A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope. No one and nothing can answer for centuries of suffering. No one and nothing can guarantee that the cynicism of power—whatever beguiling ideological mask it adopts—will cease to dominate the world. This is why the great thinkers of the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, were equally critical of atheism and theism. Horkheimer radically excluded the possibility of ever finding a this-worldly substitute for God, while at the same time he rejected the image of a good and just God. In an extreme radicalization of the Old Testament prohibition of images, he speaks of a “longing for the totally Other” that remains inaccessible—a cry of yearning directed at world history. Adorno also firmly upheld this total rejection of images, which naturally meant the exclusion of any “image” of a loving God. On the other hand, he also constantly emphasized this “negative” dialectic and asserted that justice —true justice—would require a world “where not only present suffering would be wiped out, but also that which is irrevocably past would be undone”[30]. This, would mean, however—to express it with positive and hence, for him, inadequate symbols—that there can be no justice without a resurrection of the dead. Yet this would have to involve “the resurrection of the flesh, something that is totally foreign to idealism and the realm of Absolute spirit”[31]. (Spe Salvi)
7. In conclusion, it is also written in the scriptures that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing (“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Mt 7:15”). They claim to be messengers of God but they are teaching hate, rebellion and self-interest. It is clearly stated that these False Prophets who have the spirit of anti-Christ are pretenders to be light and teaching things that are opposite of the teachings of Christ. 

We really have to watch out for wolves, especially if they are scantily clad in sheep's clothing. Who are the leaders of Protestantism who claim to be messengers of God? Was it King Henry VIII who wishes to make himself the Pope of the Church of England, because the Pope in Rome would not grant him the annulment from his marriage with Catherine, so that he can marry Anne Boleyn whom he would condemn to be killed 3 years later because her pregnancies ended up in miscarriages? Or how about Martin Luther?
His poor physical health made him short-tempered and even harsher in his writings and comments. His wife Katharina was overheard saying, "Dear husband, you are too rude," and he responded, "They are teaching me to be rude."[241] In 1545 and 1546 Luther preached three times in the Market Church in Halle, staying with his friend Justus Jonas during Christmas.[242]
His last sermon was delivered at Eisleben, his place of birth, on 15 February 1546, three days before his death.[243] It was "entirely devoted to the obdurate Jews, whom it was a matter of great urgency to expel from all German territory," according to Léon Poliakov.[244] James Mackinnon writes that it concluded with a "fiery summons to drive the Jews bag and baggage from their midst, unless they desisted from their calumny and their usury and became Christians."[245] Luther said, "we want to practice Christian love toward them and pray that they convert," but also that they are "our public enemies ... and if they could kill us all, they would gladly do so. And so often they do."[246] (Wikipedia: Martin Luther)
 Are these the hallmarks of a holy and forgiving man that we should emulate? Christ said:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.k16 l By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So by their fruits you will know them.(Mt 7:15-20)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sino ang tunay na baliw? A 4-point reply to Antonio Contreras' comment on Agot Isidro's critique of Pres. Duterte


In her Facebook post, actress Agot Isidro called Pres. Duterte a psychopath for starting word wars with other word leaders, endangering the economy of the country, which may result in the poverty of our 100 million citizens. Here is my translation:
First, no one is quarreling with you. As a matter of fact, you are the one who starts the fights. Second, our country where you were voted by 16 million out of 100+ million people is a Third World. You speak as if Philippines is a superpower. Excuse me, we do not wish to go hungry. Do it alone; do not involve us. Majority barely even have food to eat, and you would make them even hungrier. Third, I know a psychiatrist. Get yourself checked. You are not a bipolar. You are a psychopath.

In defense of Pres. Duterte, Antonio Contreras, a political scientist from DLSU, bashed Agot Isidro in his Facebook post:

 Let us analyze Antonio Contreras words:

1. Agot Isidro should be ashamed of herself. What she said is precisely what happens when you become mendicant. You think heavens will fall and we will all get hungry just because the US and the EU are pissed off.

Would Contreras also say the same thing to Duterte--that Duterte be ashamed of himself?  Look, Isidro had not used cuss words, like P...Ina Mo or Go to Hell, to the world leaders, as Duterte has done many, many, many times, except to his Communist cliques like China and NPA. The image of Justice as a blindfolded woman holding the scales should help us weigh the gravity of the words of Isidro compared with those of Duterte. Whose words have greater weight in shamelessness?

A mendicant is a beggar. They can be the street beggars or they can be those who made a vow of poverty by renouncing personal property, just like the Mendicant Orders such as Franciscans and Dominicans:
Mendicant, member of any of several Roman Catholic religious orders who assumes a vow of poverty and supports himself or herself by work and charitable contributions. The mendicant orders surviving today are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians (Augustinian Hermits), Carmelites, Trinitarians, Mercedarians, Servites, Minims, Hospitalers of St. John of God, and the Teutonic Order. The two great founders of the orders of mendicant friars were St. Dominic, who founded the Dominican order in 1216, and St. Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan order in 1210. Within a generation of their deaths, their institutes had spread throughout Europe and into Asia, (Britannica)
As we can see, not all mendicants live a shameful lives. If we are Christians, we also beg God for our daily sustenance praying the following words from Our Father: "Give us this day our daily bread." And many of us are also mendicants in other ways by begging for help, for love, for attention, or for publicity. We are all beggars in one way or another.

Regarding EU, US, and all those who comprise the West (or the First World in Cold War terminology), it may be worth pondering the following statistics regarding the numbers of OFWs from the top 10 countries and their remittances. Notice that the US alone has 3.4 million OFWs sending PhP 463 billion in remittances which is equivalent to 3.58 % of our Nominal Gross Domestic Product. On a per capita (or per person) basis, those in the US send a remittance of Php 135,000 per OFW, which is equal to our GDP per capita. If we divide this Php 135,000 by 12 months, we get Php 11,250/month. Divide this by 22 working days and we get Php 511, which is a bit higher than the daily minimum wage of Php 481 (non-agricultural) and Php 444 (agricultural) in the country as of 2015. If the average Philippine household is 4.6 people, each OFW is in fact feeding 4.6 people including himself. So for the US alone with 3,416,840 OFWs, the number of people that depend on them including themselves would be 3,416,840 x 4.6 = 15,717,464 or about 15.7 million. The number of people who voted for Duterte as President is 16.6 million. So if the US sends all OFWs back to the Philippines, there will be 15.7 million disgruntled Filipinos who can match the numbers of Duterte's supporters. Duterte cannot even control the his supporters and even his own mouth; if the US sends the OFWs all back, Duterte will have 16 million more mouths to shut up. All these is just for the US alone. We haven't even even yet added those OFWs if they also get sent back from Europe.

And with the lessening of OFW remittances. many industries which depend on OFW customers will face hard times, such as the banking and real estate sectors--and even the small restaurants and shops. The collapse of these industries in a short amount of time will create a financial vacuum, resulting to a whirlwind of an unrest which would surprise even the Duterte's Communist friends who are now in power: this unrest would really result in the drafting of the new Constitution and our country will never be the same again. The Philippines may survive the return of OFWs if they come back within 10 to 20 years span, but a sudden influx of 3.6 million OFWs resulting to the financial difficulties of their 15 million family members within a year is a terrible financial strain on the economy, which would be comparable to the 13.6 million Syrian refugees looking for food, shelter, and work:
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4.8 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, and 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile about one million have requested asylum to Europe. Germany, with more than 300,000 cumulated applications, and Sweden with 100,000, are EU’s top receiving countries. (Syrian Refugees)
Agot Isidro is right: if Duterte wishes to go hungry, let him do it himself and fast for 40 days and 40 nights like Christ, before calling Andanar to follow him. Let Pres. Duterte involve us not in his madness. We ordinary Filipinos wish to live in peace.

2. Let me educate you Ms. Isidro. International relations is not as simple as you think it is. Countries do not behave like the soap opera characters you play where a bitchiness of one leads to a catfight, or a fistfight. It is not what leaders say that matters. It is what is in their country's best interests.

Yes, international relations is not simple since it is a dynamical system that rely on a multitude of variables. In the movie, Beautiful Mind, John Nash is shown studying the dynamical system between US and Russia:
Some years later, Nash is invited to the Pentagon to crack encrypted enemy telecommunication. Nash can decipher the code mentally, to the astonishment of other decrypters. He considers his regular duties at MIT uninteresting and beneath his talents, so he is pleased to be given a new assignment by his mysterious supervisor, William Parcher (Harris) of the United States Department of Defense. He is to look for patterns in magazines and newspapers in order to thwart a Soviet plot. Nash becomes increasingly obsessive about searching for these hidden patterns and believes he is followed when he delivers his results to a secret mailbox.
But despite this tremendous difficulty, we can still make sense of international relations by thinking of countries as individual beings with bodies, intelligence, and will--as persons, but far greater than any individual person, since they are made up of multitudes of tens of thousands to hundreds of millions. In political science, we call these persons collectively as the body politic:
A body politic is a metaphor in which a nation is considered to be a corporate entity,[2] being likened to a human body. The word "politic" in this phrase is a postpositive adjective; so it is "a body of a politic nature" rather than "a politic of a bodily nature". A body politic comprises all the people in a particular country considered as a single group. The analogy is typically continued by reference to the top of government as the head of state,[3] but may be extended to other anatomical parts, as in political readings of the Aesop's fable, "The Belly and the Members".The first mentioning of the term in print in Europe appears through the works The Book Of The Body Politic by Poet and Court writer Christine de Pizan in 1407 in which she readily admits to borrowing the concept from Plutarch in an letter addressed to the Emperor Trajan without ever mentioning John of Salisbury great and now considered classical work Policraticus[4][5] The metaphor appears in the French language as the corps-état.[6] The metaphor developed in Renaissance times, as the medical knowledge based upon the classical work of Galen was being challenged by new thinkers such as William Harvey. Analogies were made between the supposed causes of disease and disorder and their equivalents in the political field which were considered to be plagues or infections which might be remedied by purges and nostrums.[7]
Now, since countries can be thought of as persons, we can then think of the world as a stage, where each country are represented by actors and actresses. And in this stage, the bitchiness of one actor may really lead to a catfight or a fistfight, but magnified in international scale: a pinch becomes a pincer movement of the cavalry and hair grabs become air assault of of parachuting troops, helicopter gunships, hellfire bombs, ICBM's, and nuclear warheads. Last month, North Korea fired a submarine-launched missile which landed on Japan's territory. And a few days ago, Russia moved its nuclear-capable missiles near the Polish border, because of growing tensions between US and Russia.

In these trying times, what our leaders say matters, because their words get things done, even if these are not in the best interests of the nation. Loose lips sink ships. If the country is like a ship, perhaps like Bapor Tabo in Noli Mi Tangere, then the leader of the country is the captain in charge of controlling the movement of a very small part of the ship: the rudder.  The rudder is shaped like a tongue. And just as the rudder can change the direction of motion of a ship, so can the tongue move the disposition of a person, That is why, if a person like our president cannot control his tongue, he would drive the whole nation to a shipwreck. As St. James said:
It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes.5 In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. 6 The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna.7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.b 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. (Jas 3:4-10)
We are moving on political seas plagued with mines. Perhaps, we can trust Pres. Duterte to lead us, just as Frodo and Sam trusted Gollum to guide them in the Dead Marshes. But we must be wary for treachery may be afoot, as is wont with Communists. The end justifies their means. Communists would collaborate with democrats to bring about socialism. And once this is established, they will bring about communism. As Mao Tse Tung wrote:
The People's democratic dictatorship is based on the alliance of the working class, the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie, and mainly on the alliance of the workers and the peasants, because these two classes comprise 80 to go per cent of China's population. These two classes are the main force in overthrowing imperialism and the Kuomintang reactionaries. The transition from New Democracy to socialism also depends mainly upon their alliance... 
Taken as a whole, the Chinese revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party embraces the two stages, i.e., the democratic and the socialist revolutions, which are two essentially different revolutionary processes, and the second process can be carried through only after the first has been completed. The democratic revolution is the necessary preparation for the socialist revolution, and the socialist revolution is the inevitable sequel to the democratic revolution. The ultimate aim for which all communists strive is to bring about a socialist and communist society. 
Pres. Duterte is no fool. There is a method in his apparent madness--or psychosis as Agot Isidro describes it--for Duterte is using Mao Tse Tung's playbook. Duterte said he is not a Communist but only a Socialist. But following Mao Tse Tung's thought, Socialism is just a step towards Communism, which is the ultimate goal.

Even his statements and counter-statements, jokes and half-truths, have an air of consistency in them which we can sum up into one word: China. China is the North Star in Duterte's policy. Duterte may take one step forward and two steps backward, but like a drunk man who knows his home even though he can barely see as he staggers to the left and right, Duterte knows he is going to China and drag the whole Philippine nation with him with threats of violence from his online trolls and fanatic supporters. Duterte believes that the only way to make himself more favorable to China is if he can show his repudiation of traditional Philippine allies like US and EU. Is it not possible to be friends with both China and the West? Duterte may despise Christianity, but surely he would agree with the following words of Christ:
No one can serve two masters.m He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. (Mt 6:24)
Actually, the Communist dictum of Marx, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," is just a copycat of Christian life in the first century of Christianity as told in the Acts of the Apostles:
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.33 With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 34j There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale,35 and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. (Acts 4:32-35)
As the Catholic Church grew, this form of life was continued by religious groups, particularly the Mendicant Orders of the Church--Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians--the much maligned friars (prayle) in Jose Rizal's time:
A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders founded since the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.[1]
So if the Modernist historians hate the friars in the Philippines so much, will they also inflict the same vitriol to the Communists who wish to impose the apostolic life of the friars on all the citizens?

Unlike in Communist countries, apostolic life in the Catholic Church is an act of free will by each individual member and not imposed by the State through the military and bureaucracy. "Freedom!" is what William Wallace cries out in the film, Braveheart. And true freedom to pursue one's vocation in life is what Christianity promises, as long as such way of life is compatible with Christian doctrines. As Christ said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest. 29* p Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11:28-30)
3. You say we are not a superpower? My dear, we may not be but we are strategically located that countries like China and the US would like to have a piece of us. Yes, Ms. Isidro. We have what many want except that we have been so effing loyal to the US even if it treats us badly in many agreements. Its about time we have to tell the US to treat us right since there are others ready and willing to take its place. So before you even try ranting, read first. Okay.

I am glad that Contreras agreed with Isidro that we are not a superpower, even if such a statement is coming from a non-political scientist.  But Contreras deflected the blow by talking about the superpowers like China and US who want a piece of us. Since we are not a superpower, our leader gives a bravado in showing the world that we are a sovereign nation, that we can live without superpowers like US and EU, because we now have new masters to serve: Russia and China. Perhaps, this is the case of going out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The US may have treated us badly in many agreements. Can we not also say it of China? By the way, was it a bilateral agreement that China will build its fortifications on Scarborough Shoal and other islands in the Spratlys claimed by the Philippines? Was it a bilateral agreement that our fishermen cannot anymore go there? In these cases, do you think China treated us well? If someone took a piece of your property and build a wall around it, would you be alarmed and cry "Get out of here!" If the person who took your land is a rich property developer, will you use your Marxist class-struggle analysis to fight for the rights of the working class (proletariat) against the landed elite (bourgeosie)? Now, China has much more land than the Philippines, with a GDP 36.7 times bigger. Can you still use your Marxist analysis here? Oh, yes. Indeed. As our President said just few hours ago:
“Even if we get angry, we’ll just be putting on airs. We can’t beat them. We’ll ask them to allow our fishermen to their traditional fishing grounds in Scarborough,” (Inquirer)
Doesn't this sound familiar? It's from the Bugs Bunny cartoons:
Yosemite Sam: "I'm a Hessian without no aggression. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." (IMDB)
Why are Filipinos loyal to the US, with 92% positive image compared to 7% negative as of 2015 (Pew Research Center)? We may propose several hypotheses:
  • English language. Filipinos only learn Chinese if they study in Catholic schools. But practically all Philippine schools teach English starting from Kindergarten all the way to college. The Filipinos' facility with the English language--even perhaps the beggars in the streets--opens doors to shared cultural understanding, e.g. we watch Hollywood films and NBA games and read English literature and history.
  • OFWs. If Filipinos are to vote with their feet on our political alliances, they would choose the US over China, because as of 2013, we have 3,416,840 OFWs in the US and only 12,500 in China. Even if you add Hong Kong's 131,810, the total is only 144,310. If you divide 3,416,840 by 144,310, you get 23.7 times.  (Wikipedia). 
  • World War II. Filipino and US troops fought the War together in 1941-1945 in recent memory; those who still remembered the Filipino-American War in 1900s would already be dead by now. Filipinos remember Americans as liberators from the Japanese rule, as exemplified by the love shown to Gen. Douglas McArthur, when he landed in Leyte with American troops, fulfilling his promise, "I shall return."
  • Korean War. In 1950-1953, Filipino and US troops fought together again to prevent Communist troops from taking South Korea: "The Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) (Filipino: Puwersang Expedisyonarya ng Pilipinas sa Korea or PEPK/Hukbong Pinadala ng Pilipinas sa Korea or HPPK) was the Philippine Army contingent of the United Nations forces that fought in the Korean War (1950–1953). The unit arrived in Korea in August 1950. It was composed of 7,500 troops, and was the fifth largest force under the United Nations Command. The PEFTOK took part in the Battle of Yultong and the Battle of Hill Eerie. The unit operated with the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division." Fidel V. Ramos, the one who enjoined Duterte to run for presidency and who may now be regretting his decision, was awarded the Military Merit Medal. A hundred and twelve Filipino soldiers died during the Korean war. 
  • US Bases. Because of the presence of US Bases in the Philippines, Filipino troops operated with US military in many drills and wargames. Even after the US Bases were abandoned by the Americans during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, the US and the Philippines still have Visiting Forces Agreements and Joint Exercises in place. While the US Bases were present in the country, China has not encroached on Philippine waters, even if China already declared its Nine Dash Line in 1947.



4. By the way, I am a political scientist. You may want to have a one-on-one with me on political literacy. You badly need it. You seem to be ignorant of the nuances of politics and IR. Don't worry, I will not charge you for consultation. I will do it pro bono for the love of country.

"There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."--Hamlet

The governance of the nation does not fall on the shoulders of political scientists alone. We need different skill sets--lawyers, economists, scientists, engineers, teachers, philosophers, theologians, businessmen, and yes, even actors and atheletes. Otherwise, if all we have is a hammer, we would think of any problem as a nail.

There is a difference between a political theory and applied politics: a theorist may know all the political terms, but he may not be able to run a barangay, build consensus between different stakeholders, administer government projects, or even manage his own household. Just like in Physics, a theorist may talk of 11-dimensional spacetime continuum and the Theory of Everything, but he may not be able to fix a transistor radio, align a laser,  design a computer chip, or find the love of his life.

One of the greatest political thinkers is Aristotle and this is what he wrote regarding the nature and function of the State:
Further, the state is by nature clearly prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessity prior to the part; for example, if the whole body be destroyed, there will be no foot or hand, except in an equivocal sense, as we might speak of a stone hand; for when destroyed the hand will be no better than that. But things are defined by their working and power; and we ought not to say that they are the same when they no longer have their proper quality, but only that they have the same name. The proof that the state is a creation of nature and prior to the individual is that the individual, when isolated, is not self-sufficing; and therefore he is like a part in relation to the whole. But he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god: he is no part of a state. A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used by intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society. (Politics, Book I, Part 2)
It appears that President Duterte despises virtue. When the bishops confronted him with the issue of extrajudicial killings--killings that were done outside the ambient of the law--what did Duterte say?
"....Mga pari ang p***** i**, buwisit. Mga pa moral-moral. Paano ko pigilan iyan? Magpigil ako ngayon? Patay ang Pilipinas,” (ABS-CBN)
Duterte was commenting on the words of Bishop Capalla:
"Everybody that I know is worried about it. From my point of view, I think it's the question of violence, getting it into a spiral and it seems intensifying...Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it and right is right even if nobody is doing it. Our sense of morality, our moral values, our sense of right and wrong is not anymore strict. Our conscience (has) become callous, the end does not justify the means." (ABS-CBN)
But virtue is needed in politics and a student of Political Science must study virtue. As Aristotle wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics:
Since happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue, we must consider the nature of virtue; for perhaps we shall thus see better the nature of happiness. The true student of politics, too, is thought to have studied virtue above all things; for he wishes to make his fellow citizens good and obedient to the laws. As an example of this we have the lawgivers of the Cretans and the Spartans, and any others of the kind that there may have been. And if this inquiry belongs to political science, clearly the pursuit of it will be in accordance with our original plan. But clearly the virtue we must study is human virtue; for the good we were seeking was human good and the happiness human happiness. By human virtue we mean not that of the body but that of the soul; and happiness also we call an activity of soul. But if this is so, clearly the student of politics must know somehow the facts about soul, as the man who is to heal the eyes or the body as a whole must know about the eyes or the body; and all the more since politics is more prized and better than medicine; but even among doctors the best educated spend much labour on acquiring knowledge of the body. The student of politics, then, must study the soul, and must study it with these objects in view, and do so just to the extent which is sufficient for the questions we are discussing; for further precision is perhaps something more laborious than our purposes require. (Nicomachean Ethics, Book I, No. 13)
Thus, a student of Political Science--and more so, a professor of Political Science like Contreras-- should not only discuss political science by itself, but also in relation to human virtue and the soul, which are already the domains of Philosophy and Theology. So let us humble ourselves as students and learn before the feet of the masters like Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, and Augustine. Their services are always pro bono, because their writings are free all over the internet for anyone to read.