Celebrating his first mass
as Pontiff a day after being elected, 76-year-old Pope Francis told the
assembled cardinals to guard against “the worldliness of the Devil.” Here
was a man who made it an annual practice to celebrate Holy Thursday
by washing the feet of the poor, and the downtrodden of his native
Argentina. Here too was a man who took the bus to and from his work despite
having chauffeured vehicles available to him. He preferred living in a
modest apartment, cooking his own meals despite access to the well staffed
bishop’s mansion in the ritzy the suburb of Olivos where no less than the
Argentine president has his summer residence. He chose the name Francis in
honor of Saint Francis of Assisi who though born into wealth, chose a life
of poverty to live with the helpless and downtrodden.
Compare that to the past
and present Philippine Catholic Church Hierarchy that live in palaces and
mansions scattered throughout the archipelago. They live a life of opulence
behind guarded high walls far removed from the poverty and squalor found in
Philippine cities. These are prelates who consider themselves as part of the
ruling gentry. They hobnob with the rich and powerful at parties and
cocktails; they fly first-class when vacationing to the Americas or Europe;
they wrap themselves in the trappings of power and aristocracy, just as
their Spanish predecessors did going back centuries.
So when Pope Francis tells
his cardinals to guard against “the worldliness of the Devil,” What exactly
are the Philippine bishops and archbishops to make of that statement? In our
opinion, they (beginning with the CBCP—the Catholic Bishops Conference of
the Philippines) should start following his lead. It is about time these
haughty church leaders got down on their knees and washed the feet of
ordinary Filipinos. They can then start moving out of their palaces and
mansions and into apartments on the poor side of town…and take a tricycle or
jeepney to and from that never-ending conference of theirs—instead of asking
for free SUVs (sports utility vehicles) paid for by the cash-strapped
taxpayers of the Philippines.
Should the Philippine
bishops find it impossible to follow Pope Francis’ lead, they still have
another option left open to them. They can follow Pope Benedict XVI’s lead
and resign. Either way, the Philippine Catholic Church will most likely be
better off for it. Published
Many Filipinos today are realizing that the single, six-year presidential term as prescribed in the 1987 Constitution is woefully inadequate for a good president like Benigno S. Aquino III. The delegates who wrote that provision in the Constitution must have still been reeling from the almost 20 years of “kleptocratic” rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos when they decided that one term was enough for any future Philippine president. Four years—the presidential term at the time—would be too short; eight too long.
The arrogance of China is becoming readily apparent with each passing day. With their newly acquired economic and military power the Chinese appear unrestrained in their assertiveness towards their neighbors. China, instead of positioning itself as a 21st century superpower appears to be turning back the clock resembling more and more the 12th century empire of Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes who conquered most of Eurasia...just because they could.
On Her 5th Death Anniversary, We Say 'Thanks for Nothing Cory Aquino'
The passage of time has a way of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.
The Failure of Philippine Education Is Now Staring Us in the Face
Will the Philippines Ever Become a Developed Country? The short answer to that is no—at least not in our lifetime. While the country has of late improved it credit ratings as evidenced by upgrades from Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's all that perceived progress is illusory. In the Fifties and Sixties, when the Philippines was undeniably the country at the top of the heap in Southeast Asia, people said it would always be the most industrialized country in the region.
So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?
Though his popularity rating has taken some hits lately, Vice President Jejomar Binay is still far and away the strongest contender for the Philippine presidency in 2016. But is he the right choice for the country? His legions of supporters will give you an enthusiastic "yes;" his detractors however, will tell you "no!" So who's right? To answer our question, lets look instead at Binay's deeds rather than the words of his supporters or detractors.
China’s Military Base on Mabini Reef Violates the Philippine Constitution
While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis.
Napoles PDAF/NGO Scandal: What is Ten or Fifteen Billion Pesos Really Worth?
For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise. Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions.