Netizen to clergy, College dean: "Catholic Church in the Philippines have barely done enough for the poor of this country" - The Daily Sentry

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Netizen to clergy, College dean: "Catholic Church in the Philippines have barely done enough for the poor of this country"

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino / photo from GMA Network

In his lengthy opinion article at the Manila Standard on July 2, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino defended the Catholic Church by explaining several reasons why it has amassed immense riches.

Fr. Aquino started off recalling the interview of Cardinal Chito Tagle with foreign correspondent Stephen Sackur, which according to him did not help at all the Church’s current situation.

“It did not help that when Cardinal Chito Tagle was interviewed by a foreign correspondent, the every-ready gossip machine in social media  picked up bits of the exchange with the clear albeit unarticulated purpose of embarrassing the Church even more.  “ he said.

Aquino noted that Sackur was not listening to what the Cardinal had said.

“Cardinal Chito was right, but the interviewer was not listening, and neither were many who read reports of the interview later.” Aquino said.

He added that during the interview, Tagle did mention that he had not been Archbishop of Manila for a long time, and that the Church vast wealth all came from centuries of its existence.

Aquino said that vast riches of the Church goes to maintenance and building more churches, rectories for priests and for providing their needs in order to live.

“It is no less true of those universities in the Philippines that have made it to the roster excellence.  True, most of them are owned and managed by Catholic corporations, and most of them charge astronomical fees.  But how do you recruit quality professors, fund quality researches, establish quality laboratories, stock libraries with quality material when government does not finance private tertiary education?  Quality has its costs.” He added.*

San Beda Graduate School of Law dean, Fr. Aquino, pointed out that Church’s wealth is something that is prohibited to talk about.

And as for doing charity, he said: “And when it must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, relieve the distress of the ill, grant succor to the needy and comfort to the dying, it cannot blow horns on street-corners to make known the fulfillment of an act of charity—for then it would cease to be charity.”

“Politicians are known to ensure that photographers are part of the entourage when they go on their “mercy missions.”  But advertised mercy is no less disgusting than pornography!” he added.

And why the shares? Aquino explained that donations, alms, gifts and legacies given to church obviously goes to investments to “the sustainability of diocesan obligations, commitments and initiatives.”

He also said that Sackur’s question was a stupid one for the answer was already obvious.

“What should correctly be asked of the Church is what it has done with the much that it has!” Aquino said.

“Plenty of the criticism and the diatribe is unfair, the bitter fruit of ignorance of what the Church is and what it does.  But we in the Church have much to learn as well, and it should be ironically comforting that we matter enough to Philippine society that our critics take the time to call us out—and where we can learn, we must learn!” he ended.*

In response to Aquino’s article, a certain reader named Victorino Villaflor lambasted him and said:

Lets face it Fr. Ranny Aquino, the Catholic Church in the Philippines have barely done enough for the poor of this country. The poor are still made to pay for baptism, wedding ceremony, masses for the departed and so on. The only free weddings we have in the country today are not organized by the church but by government. Granting that the Catholic Church is supporting the catholic Universities in the Philippines with their infrastructure being built but the money they borrow and subject to interest, therefore they are still income for the church, You have land and other properties which are money making and without taxes, therefore the income is for the church alone. Other properties are those you mentioned which came from private individuals who gave them to the church, many already income generating.

Then again, the Catholic church cannot show much of what material things they are helping for the poor. The poor cannot live by giving spiritual food, we need temporal food which the Philippine catholic church remain wanting. What does the Church today which the public finds immoral is for the clergy in the metro Manila led by Villegas, Pabillo, Tagle, Cruz and Bacani have been attacking and criticizing the Duterte government for what they claim are failed governance which is really non of their business, still the deep on their attacks with nothing to offer of any help or whatever. The Catholic church of the Philippines today is bathing on hypocrisy and never stopped. We cannot blame the government in their aggressive behavior against certain personalities in the church. Let the Church stop dipping their fingers in he manner the country is being led, It is not their business.*

Also, provided below is the portion of transcription of Stephen Sackur’s interview with Cardinal Tagle:

As for the abuses committed by the clergies:

Sackur: How does the church respond to allegations, some of them historic allegations of s3xual abuse by priests? More than a dozen years ago, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo came out of this country, he said, “we do have reason to apologize” he said; “there have been up to 200 cases of s3x abuse committed by the clergy of this country” as far as I’m aware, these clergy have not been put on trial, they have not faced the civil court, they have been hidden away, the church has not accounted for these crimes.

Tagle: Ah, you know, since the time of Pope John Paul II, when this issue started resurfacing, especially in the United States and in Europe. The Bishops of the Philippines already started meeting on that. I was not yet a bishop but I was asked to help in the preliminary studies. So, I can say that ah, the bishops were attentive at that time…and ah…

Sackur: (interrupting) but my point is. for accountability to be in the public domain, the people of this country need to see those priests who were responsible being punished for their crimes. And that has not been seen.*

Tagle: Well, you know, many of those priests have already been taken out of their public ministry and some of them, some of them… have already been, I think, waiting for the process of being dismissed from the clerical state.

Sackur: Well, the critics including Father Shay Cullen who’s an Irish priest. I suspect you might know him. He’s done years and years of work, particularly with street children in the poorest parts. He says, he believes, there is evidence of what he calls ‘rampant sxual abuse of children by clergies’ which the bishops he says, have covered up. And he says the church’s credibility is now on the line. “The bishops need to bring those involve to justice”. Will that happen?

Tagle: Well, the first thing that must happen is ahh...the ahh... you know, again something.. I’m not defending but this is something again cultural. Now, what is the concept of accountability? You know. here, for example, many people would say… let us trust in the internal process. The canonical process of the church,… investigating this case..

Sackur: (interrupting) but what if there is no longer trust? What if actually, the only way to be held to account is to allow the civil courts to actually meet out justice ..*

Tagle: They are free... they are free to go.

Sackur: But the church is not actually handing over the documentary evidence, is not helping the civil authorities to do that.

Tagle: If the civil authorities ask for it...then we are duty bound to hand them over. Yes, and in fact, some of the victims are told, it is within their rights to go to the civil courts. No one is blocking them ... I can tell you that.

Then the interviewer opened the issue about the vast riches of the diocese.

Sackur: Thought about the materials standing in the church in this country. Pope Francis was recently here, and he’s known throughout the world for his advocacy of humility…and material lack of extravagance. And yet, this Church, particularly in Manila, the diocese of Manila is regarded as one of the richest in the entire world. As I understand it, this diocese, owns 10 percent on one of the country’s biggest banks. It’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has a seat on the board of the bank. It owns other fast stocks investments, and mining companies and other things…it has foreign currency holdings, it has bonds…why that, you need this vast resource?*

Tagle:  Well, first of all…remember that that archdiocese of Manila…I’ve been three years only as archbishop, this has been archdiocese for more than four hundred years. So, the…the assets of the Church…and this is not the only place where the church owns property. It has been an accumulation…for

Sackur: (interrupting) how this such diocese worth?

Tagle: Ahh, well… I don’t know the exact figure..

Sackur: The transparency and accountability would suggest that you, and indeed your flock should know how many hundreds of millions of dollars this such diocese is worth.

Tagle: Now it’s ahh… I think it can be accessed through the ahh Securities and Exchange Commission. This is ahh, public documents.

Sackur: For church which is supposed to be committed to humility and to be reaching out to the very poorest in this country… do you think it is a little bit of a problem that actually the church is one of the wealthiest institutions in the land…

Tagle: But the church is also.. I mean..ahhh. it has also things that it has to spend on…and the biggest

Sackur: (trying to interrupt) but his money is not being spent…

Tagle: (Continuing)… the biggest charitable…the biggest charitable institutions in the Philippines is still the church. When you look at the response, for example, to disasters…and everything, it is the church that still remains to be the single institution of charity. And if ever, the dioceses and religious orders have property and investment, we also have to look at how that is spent...and the number of employees...the number of needs, the orphanages, the hospitals, all of those are sustained also by church funds.

 Source: Manila Standard , Youtube