Anytime the Catholic Church, through the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), comes out with pronouncements, either in the form of a homily or a pastoral letter, strongly criticizing state matters it always frustrate many people, including myself.
Lately, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas released a pastoral letter once again blasting the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and the resultant extrajudicial killings happening during the campaign.
Villegas seemed to be bothered by the fact that despite the violence and excessive killings, most people have been reacting indifferently to it and rather feeling oblivious at the terror they are witnessing.
Thus, the pastoral letter was written and sent out to all churches so that every Tom, Dick and Harry of the cloth shall make it their responsibility to remind their respective parishioners to get involve and be more vocal against the extrajudicial killings happening almost every day that are being attributed to the police.
Villegas implied in his pastoral letter that if the members of the Catholic faith continue to act like the three wise monkeys that embodied the proverbial principle, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, then they are just as guilty as those perpetrating the crime.
This is what bugs me and frustrates me because I think the CBCP is over-dramatizing the situation and playing to the sentiments of the people who, otherwise, are thankful that the drug menace, criminality and corruption are finally being addressed seriously and imperatively by a strong-willed president who has the political courage and the moral ascendancy to move this country forward and improve the quality of life of every Filipino.
I have said this before, and I am going to say it again: Let the political system run the state and the clerical or religious functions run the church. Let no one meddle in somebody else realm. Each is governed by its own laws and power and it is simply imprudent and discordant to encourage and advocate the members of their respective realms to go against one another.
I understand that the people belonging to the church and state are all citizens of this country and as such have the same rights and privileges under the constitution. Individually, each can voice out his or her opinion.
But it is totally different when we talk about the church and state as entities.
The state is about governance of the country and its people.
The church is about governance of the soul of people, which can be made better by prayers and other religious/spiritual activities.
That is how distinctly separate they are.