Saturday, May 28, 2016

A parody petition vs Mayor Duterte for meddling with Religion: A reply to Pablo Tecson

"I will destroy the Church."--Rodrigo Duterte, President-Elect of the Philippines endorsed by the Communist Party of the Philippines

Pablo Tecson wrote a petition in Change.org asking for the resignation of Bishop Villegas and other bishops for interfering in Philippine politics. But the opposite is also true: Duterte is interfering in the practice of the Catholic religion through his virulent remarks against the pope, the bishops, the priests, and the Catholic faithful. To highlight the absurdity of Pablo Tecson's petition, we shall draft a parody petition vs President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte, using arguments similar to those proposed by Pablo Tecson:

PARODY PETITION VS PRESIDENT-ELECT RODRIGO DUTERTE

A. Introduction

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the President-Elect of the Republic of the Philippines. His actions do not speak for all the Filipino citizens in the country. The Catholic Church has been a victim of the dirty mouth of Mayor Duterte who laces his sentences with p*tang ina mo (son of a whore) in his criticism of the Church.

The words of Mayor Duterte have created a division among the Catholic faithful: those who are obedient to the moral authority of the Catholic bishops (e.g. Bishop Socrates Villegas and Bishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz) vs. those Catholics who voted Mayor Duterte to the presidency. Why does Mayor Duterte keep on harping on the Catholic religion in the country when we have a separation of church and state? We all know the words of Mayor Duterte:
  •  “From the hotel to the airport, alam mo inabot kami ng…dito lang…niyaya ako…limang oras. Sabi ko bakit? Sabi pinasarado daw,” the politiko said.
    He then asked, “Eh sino darating?” “Si Pope (Francis),” answered his companion.“Gusto kong tawagan, ‘Pope putangina ka umuwi ka na. Wag ka nang magbisita dito,'” Duterte said.
  • "The most hypocritical institution is the Catholic Church."
  • "For the record, I believe in God, but I do not believe in religions." 
  • I will destroy the Church and the present status of so many priests and what they are doing,” he said. “You priests, bishops, you condemn me and suggest I withdraw, but then I will start to open my mouth. There are so many secrets that we kept as children. Do not force (me to speak) because this religion is not so sacred.” 
  • “Ang hindi kasi nakuha ng Simabahan, napaka-bobo naman kasi itong Katoliko. Tapos ngayon, nagsabi pa, hindi daw sila nagkampanya. Eh ‘yung tatlong bishop na nagsalita against me?”
  • Do not f*** with me, Cruz! Iparinig mo sa kanya 'yan!”.
  • “Di na ako miyembro ng Katoliko....May bago ako, lipat na lang kayo dito sa Iglesia ni Duterte,"
We, the Filipino people, are calling for action by Congress to correct the behavior of Mayor Duterte once he steps into power as President of the Philippines and impose his anti-life laws, such as death penalty, divorce, and population control. Two-thirds of Congress can override the Presidential veto. And if President Duterte decides to impose martial law to crack down on Catholics and other Filipinos who dissent against his policies, Congress should stop his plans and get him impeached.

We pray that this petition will reach the House of Representatives and the Senate and we pray that with the grace of God, this petition will become an eye opener to all religious people in the country to show President-elect Duterte's limitations. Leave religion to Catholic bishops, Protestant Pasters, and INC ministers, and let the people make moral decisions guided by their religious leaders, even if these decisions touch on politics, for even the Iglesia Ni Cristo endorsed the candidacy of Mayor Duterte as President. If Mayor Duterte allows one religious group to endorse him, he must also allow another religious group to criticize him. This is democracy.

B. Petition

In summary, this petition seeks the following:
  1. The support of 2/3 of Congress to stop President Duterte from making anti-life laws detested by the Catholic Church, such as death penalty, divorce, and population control
  2. The impeachment of President Duterte in case he tries to establish Martial Law to suppress Catholic dissent against his administration.
C. Addendum

President-Elect Duterte doesn't deserve to be the President of the Philippines if his words and actions do not represent the majority of the Filipino citizens. Mayor Duterte admitted that he is bipolar:
"Ako, palabas-masok ako sa bipolar. One moment seryoso ako, one moment tatapunan ko kayo ng biro."
This makes Mayor Duterte psychologically incapacitated to serve as President of the Philippines: his words and actions can lead to chaos, because no one can be sure if he is serious or joking. And if this is the state of Iglesia ni Duterte, each one claiming to be Duterte's pope, interpreting his idol's words and actions according to his particular background and political leaning, leading to the formation of a thousand sects of the Duterte Religion, each one fighting for Duterte's eyes, ears, and tongue then the inevitable result is a Civil War.

The saintly Pope Paul VI's words come to mind: "The smoke of Satan has entered the Church":
Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”  There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation.  There is no longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has the formula of true life.  And we are not alert to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula of true life.  Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by windows that should have been open to the light.  Science exists to give us truths that do not separate from God, but make us seek him all the more and celebrate him with greater intensity; instead, science gives us criticism and doubt.  Scientists are those who more thoughtfully and more painfully exert their minds.  But they end up teaching us:  “I don’t know, we don’t know, we cannot know.”  The school becomes the gymnasium of confusion and sometimes of absurd contradictions.  Progress is celebrated, only so that it can then be demolished with revolutions that are more radical and more strange, so as to negate everything that has been achieved, and to come away as primitives after having so exalted the advances of the modern world. (Catholic Stand)
Like a smoke of Satan, Mayor Duterte looked for the cracks in the conservative wall and the liberally open windows to enter the Catholic Church from without, in order to poison the minds of Catholic faithful within, and destroy the Church as he has promised to do.

It is true that Christ promised the indestructibility of the Catholic Church:
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:18-19)
But this only about the Catholic Church as a whole; it does not mean that the Catholic Church won't be destroyed in the Philippines or in US or in China. As long as there is one Catholic Cperson left before the Last Judgment, Christ's promise remains valid, albeit with a haunting question for all of us:
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Lk 18:8)
Duterte can live up to his promise of destroying the Catholic Church in the Philippines. All it takes is to kill all the priests or send them in prison. Without priests, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can't be offered. Without the Mass, the Cathedrals will crumble, and the Philippines will be plunged back into Paganism, as in the days before the Spaniards came. As St. Jean Vianney said:
The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you. After God, the priest is everything. Leave a parish twenty years without priests; they will worship beasts. If the missionary Father and I were to go away, you would say, "What can we do in this church? there is no Mass; Our Lord is no longer there: we may as well pray at home. " When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion. (Fish Eaters)
The Filipino people elected Rodrigo Duterte to be the President of the Philippines, and many of those who voted for him are Catholics. We need to support President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte in accomplishing the changes he wants for our country for the better, in so far as they don't contradict our Catholic faith and morals.

Vox Populi is not always Vox Dei: the Catholics in Germany elected Hitler and the Nazis to power, the Catholics in Mexico voted for the anti-clerical and secular Mexican Constitution which led to the persecution of Catholics and the Cristero War, and the Catholics in France joined the French Revolution against the Old Order represented by the French King and the Catholic Church. That is why, Catholics must always remain vigilant, for many, many more Catholics did not vote for President-Elect Duterte, but they must respect the democratic process enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.

If President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte cannot work with the Catholic Church in the Philippines which represents 80-85% of the citizens, and continue to attack it in words and deeds, then some Catholics may revolt against his presidency just like the Cristeros in Mexico, replacing the NPA as the new insurgents, since the CPP-NPA-NDF has already grabbed political power in the person of President-Elect Duterte who promised to appoint Communists to his Cabinet. To prevent war and bloodshed, it is best that President-elect Duterte steps down from the presidency for the sake of the healing of our country.

D. Disclaimer

This is a parody petition and should not be taken seriously by President-Elect Duterte and his die-hard supporters. This parody petition should not appear in change.org or in similar petition-aggregating platforms. But of course you can share this parody petition to your friends for fun reading: no one takes words seriously nowadays in our country, for even our President-Elect asks us not to believe his preposterous statements. A political campaign based on propagation of malicious falsehoods in social media would find truth to be truly radical deserving of suppression. "How you campaign is how you will govern," as Mar Roxas said. So read and share!
Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church
Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church
Dynamic Freedoms: Our Freedom Documents / Communism: Enemy of All Freedoms / Separation of Church and State / Free Enterprise: An American Invention
Dynamic Freedoms: Our Freedom Documents / Communism: Enemy of All Freedoms / Separation of Church and State / Free Enterprise: An American Invention
The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Second Edition: What You and Your Family Need to Know
The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Second Edition: What You and Your Family Need to Know
Paul VI: The Misunderstood Pope
Paul VI: The Misunderstood Pope
Lord of the World: A Novel
Lord of the World: A Novel
Eucharistic Meditations: Extracts from the Writings and Instructions of Saint John Vianney
Eucharistic Meditations: Extracts from the Writings and Instructions of Saint John Vianney
For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada, the Cristero War and Mexico's Struggle for Religious Freedom
For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada, the Cristero War and Mexico's Struggle for Religious Freedom
Deciding What's True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism
Deciding What's True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why do I have to go to a human being to ask forgiveness from him? A reply to Mayor Duterte

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was.... Photo credit: By Водник - Transferred from ru.wikipedia; (собственное фото), CC BY-SA 3.0.

QUESTION:
“Why do I have to go to a human being to whisper my sins and ask for forgiveness from him? Who are you to listen to my sinslex and give me absolution? You are not God.”--Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Philippine Star)

RESPONSE

A. CONFESSING TO A LAY PERSON

1. Confessing in the Bible

Confessing one's sins to another human being is Biblical, even if that human being is not a priest, i.e. a laity. As Apostle James said:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
2. Learning from Psychology
 
Psychologically, if you did something wrong and you tell it to your friend, don't you feel a bit lighter?
About 20 years ago, James Pennebaker, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, began a series of studies that scientifically examined the effects of disclosing personal thoughts and feelings. Participants were randomly assigned to either: (a) talk or write about a difficult, traumatic, or upsetting event (disclosure); or (b) write or talk about a trivial topic (a comparison control group). While the disclosure process produced immediate feelings of distress, participants who engaged in this process experienced a number of benefits over time, including improved mood, reduced symptoms of psychological distress, fewer illnesses, and even improved immune functioning. Furthermore, Pennebaker and others found that the health effect is greater when people are less inhibited, disclose more deeply, and when their disclosure helps them form new meaning or insight on their experience. (Spirituality & Health)
That's why some psychologists earn money by just listening to people narrate their lives to uncover the underlying reasons behind their present emotional problems. Even a computer algorithm, such as ELIZA, which mimics a rephrasing technique of psychologists can already effect healing on many patients:
ELIZA is a computer program and an early example of primitive natural language processing. ELIZA operated by processing users' responses to scripts, the most famous of which was DOCTOR, a simulation of a Rogerian psychotherapist. Using almost no information about human thought or emotion, DOCTOR sometimes provided a startlingly human-like interaction. ELIZA was written at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum between 1964 and 1966. [1] When the "patient" exceeded the very small knowledge base, DOCTOR might provide a generic response, for example, responding to "My head hurts" with "Why do you say your head hurts?" A possible response to "My mother hates me" would be "Who else in your family hates you?" ELIZA was implemented using simple pattern matching techniques, but was taken seriously by several of its users, even after Weizenbaum explained to them how it worked. It was one of the first chatterbots.(Wikipedia: Eliza)
3. Asking forgiveness from the persons you hurt
 
If you sinned against a particular person, then it is also best to ask forgiveness to that person.

If you used your father's car and you crashed it on a tree because you were drunk while driving, your father may forgive you if you admit your fault. But he may also give you penance: the money spent for the car repair shall be taken from your allowance; meanwhile, you have to learn how to commute.

If you hurt your wife by having an affair with another woman, and you realized your mistake, you can go back to your wife and ask forgiveness, with a promise not to see the other woman anymore. Your wife may forgive you, but you also have to do certain things to assuage her anger. Well, you may need to court her again by providing proof of your your repentance: you become extra caring to her, you help her with the household chores which you normally don't do, you spend more time with her, etc.

That is why the story of the Prodigal Son is timeless: after squandering his inheritance on a life of dissipation, the son found himself tending the pigs and eating their food. And he realized that it is better to go back to his father and ask forgiveness:
So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 21His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, 24because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. (Lk 15:20-24)

4. Asking forgiveness in Courts of Law

If you are accused of a crime, and you deny it even if you really did it, your penalty would be worse if you were convicted. But if you were sorry for the crime and asked pardon from complainants, they may forgive you, but you have to serve your sentence in court. And if you have a good conduct in prison, your sentence may be lighter and lighter, so that a 20-year imprisonment may be reduced to 10 years. If the judge acquits you, then it is the State which acquits you, because your crime is not just against another person, but against the State, against the people of the Republic of the Philippines.

That's why Christ recommends that we be reconciled with our brothers before they accuse us in court. As Christ said:
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,p 24leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.q Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. (Mt 5:23-26)

B. CONFESSING TO A PRIEST

1, Christ, the Son of Man, forgives sins

Christ is Man. But since He is also Son of God, He also has the power to forgive sins which are offenses against God. The story of the paralytic illustrates this:
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.” 6* 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?”b 8Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? 9Which 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”— 11he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” 12He 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.” (Mk 2:4-12)
As Christ said:
Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.v 35A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son* always remains.w 36So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.  (Jn 8:34-36)
2. How the priests got their power to forgive sins

After His Resurrection, Christ gave the apostles the power to forgive sins:
Receive the holy Spirit. 23* n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  (Jn 20:22-23
As the Apostles preached throughout the world, they converted many people to the Gospel. If the believers became large enough in a city, the apostles appointed bishops and gave them the fullness of the priesthood to celebrate the Sacraments and govern the City of God, the Church.

In turn, the Bishops appointed Elders or Presbyters to share in their ministry. Who are the Presbyters. They're the priests! The Apostle James mentioned the presbyters or the priests in his instruction in celebrating the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick:
Is anyone among you sick?* He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord,j 15and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.*  (Jas 5:14-15)
The priests are also empowered by the Bishop to hear confessions, since they are the bishop's co-workers in the ministry of salvation:
1567 "The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is, true to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them."51 priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Thus, when you go to a confession to a priest, he hears your confession and provides you the absolution through the power granted to him by the bishop. Since the bishops are the successors of the Apostles and the Apostles were granted by Christ the power to forgive sins, then the bishops have the power to forgive sins, and this power they share to the priests.

C. Conclusion

Confessing one's sins to another person in general is not only recommended by Apostle James in the Bible, but also by modern psychologists for our emotional healing. We need to confess our sins especially to the persons whom we hurt and do penance to repair the damage that our sin has brought. This is true whether we confess our sins to our parents, to our spouse, or to the courts of law. In all these cases, we have to perform penance as a sign of our repentance, e.g. getting the car repaired, loving your wife more, or be imprisoned for several years. And when the court acquits you or releases you from prison, it is the whole State which acquits you and releases you from prison. The humble judge of the city is just a mere instrument of the State and his judgements are ratified by the State.

In the case of confessing our sins to a priest, it is true as Duterte claimed that the priests are not God. But Christ is both Son of Man and Son of God. He can forgive sins. And He gave this power to the Apostles through the Holy Spirit. The Apostles gave the power of forgiving sins to the bishops who succeeded them, and the bishops delegated this power to the priests belonging to his diocese. Thus, if a priest forgive your sins and gives you an absolution provided you perform certain acts of penance, e.g. spiritual and corporal works of mercy, it is Christ who truly forgives you and your sins are forgiven by God.
The Confessions: Saint Augustine of Hippo (Ignatius Critical Editions)
The Confessions: Saint Augustine of Hippo (Ignatius Critical Editions)
Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach
Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach
Tales from the Couch: A Clinical Psychologist's True Stories of Psychopathology
Tales from the Couch: A Clinical Psychologist's True Stories of Psychopathology
After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, 2nd Edition
After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, 2nd Edition
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait
Papillon
Papillon
Analysis Without Paralysis: 12 Tools to Make Better Strategic Decisions (Paperback) (2nd Edition)
Analysis Without Paralysis: 12 Tools to Make Better Strategic Decisions (Paperback) (2nd Edition)
The City of God
The City of God