Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SirBitz Speaks: The Bishops and the Cars

PROLOGUE. I speak of my own opinion. Period.

Take heed upon yourselves and to the flock from which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops. Care for the Church of God from which he purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

Bishops, who by divine institution succeed to the place of the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, are constituted pastors in the Church, so that they are teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship, and ministers of governance. Through episcopal consecration itself, bishops receive with the function of sanctifying also the functions of teaching and governing; by their nature, however, these can only be exercised in hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college. (CIC 375 §1,2)

Throughout the past months, the Bishops ~ and the Church in the Philippines for that ~ had been undergoing a fierce fight. We've been in a clash with almost every spectra of the society in our fight for the truth, and quest for the real thing. We have been through the streets, shouting our rejection of the daRHk bill. We have been always shouting against moves which are contra-family (Divorce Bill), and contra-morality (same-sex marriage). We know that God moves within us everytime we shout our ideals. We know that we desire for the real truth, and not run with the secular flow. This, with the leadership of our Bishops, is one sure sign that the Church, though criticized badly, is still able to stand up and fight for the upright and defend the Christian ideals of truth, justice and peace.

And yet, we know that the devil destroys communion, not through the members first, but through its leaders or heads. We can evidently feel it in the Philippine scenery through this issue which the press people lovingly called, PCSO's Pajero Bishops. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, in its quest to know where was their money spent, opened up that seven bishops received luxury cars during the Arroyo Administration. 

The most noise goes to Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, Bishop of Butuan, who received two luxury cars used for spiritual and social services, one of which served as PGMA's birthday gift to him. Bishop Pueblos confirmed this, but said that it was merely for the service of the poor in his diocese, and that there is no malice in requesting such.

While the society is poorly criticizing the bishops for their deeds, CBCP nevertheless asked for forgiveness 'for the pain and sadness that these events have brought upon you,' says outgoing President, Bishop Nereo Odchimar. He added that the bishops in the butt of criticism are ever-ready to face the consequences of whatever wrong they have done, while asking the common tao to 'be slow in judgement (...) Let us seek the truth always in charity.'

The Conference also expressed their support to the on-going Senate Committee hearing on the issue, stating that they would participate in the probe and present themselves before the legislators when needed. 'We assure you that the bishops concerned are ready to accept responsibility for their action and to face the consequences if it would be proven unlawful, anomalous, and unconstitutional.' Also, they are to look again over the collaborations with certain agencies which are aimed at helping the poor, so as to make sure 'that pastoral sensibilities are respected and the highest ethical standards are observed.'


I thought of keeping my silence over the issue, since I am not quite ready to face criticisms which you may slam in. But being a Christian, in obedience to my leaders who are the successors of the Apostles themselves, I think I should say something.

Bishops, as said in the Canon Law, are constituted pastors in the Church, so that they are teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship, and ministers of governance. To them are entrusted the care of Christ's flock here on Earth. Their primary task, as we can see it, is to teach us the means of Christian communion and life, to lead us in praising God through the sacraments, and govern us through the diocese where he leads. 

That includes providing special care and services for the marginalized sector of the community - the poor, sick, elderly, etc. They may not do it on their own resources, so they go out and ask or wait for donations which may come from the laity and the private sector. Come on, saan sila kukuha ng panggastos sa kanilang diyosesis? Sa pera nila? Eh hindi naman napakayaman ng mga Obispo para ibigay ang pangangailangan ng mga mananampalataya, at yung panggastos ay mula sa sarili nilang bulsa! That's where donations come in.

Pero dito napupulaan ang mga Obispo. Manghihingi na nga lang ng donasyon, Pajero pa! Mamahaling kotse pa! Bakit?

What the bishops ask is not merely for their own; it's for the community. Whether a simple token of appreciation or a million-peso SUV, the Church, especially its clergy, merely accepts almost every donation for the sake of the faithful. It only depends on the donor whether he may give something simple or something beneficial for all; what's important is that they may give to the best of their abilities. Except for receiving donations from Jueteng and other legal and illegal forms of gambling, the Church always accepts what is given them, and uses it for the welfare not only of the Christian community, but of the whole society.

Why an SUV? Eh Mindanao kaya iyun? Hindi kailangan ng mamahaling kotse doon! 

That's what you may think. Come to think of it, the dioceses in Mindanao are of poor stature. Some of the faithful reside in far-flung areas that may need better automotive expertise. This is not a status symbol for the Bishops; rather, this may be their way of bringing better service to the community in the far areas which an ordinary jeep, or foot trail may not reach that easily. 

Pero kung hindi naman ganun? Kung talagang sinadyang manhingi ng mga Obispo? Paano yun?

Yes, Bishop Pueblos may had asked for an SUV as a birthday gift, but nevertheless he is using it as his service within the diocese. Hindi naman niya pang-personal na gamit iyun. Of course, he has the prerogative on where to use it, but as a Bishop, he is also expected of to use this car in providing service to the Diocese. He also expressed his regret over all of this, stating that he may give back the cars whenever needed, for everything to cease at point.

CBCP had said it. 'Out of their sincere desire to help their people, they failed to consider the pitfalls to which these grants could possibly lead them.' They had the community first in mind, without taking into consideration the drawbacks that they would bear in the future - at eto na nga iyun. Can't you see how the Bishops love you? Without thinking of their own reputation, they proceeded and asked for something of the Government, be it an SUV, or a monetary assistance, in order to give the needed service for us. 

This they did with no malice. The consequences of which they're suffering now because a simple issue was tinted with much guilt. Biktima lang ang Simbahan ng panlalamang at makasariling interes ng ilan. At hindi ito nakakatuwa.

Teka nga, sandali! Bakit nga ba nabaling sa kotse ang usapan, samantalang kahapon lang ay pinaglalaban natin ang RH Bill?

From the fight for life, the limelight is now turning bad over our leaders. Actually, upon the first instance of hearing this, I realized that obviously, the talk swayed away from the RH Bill and focused, with spotlights on, on the anomalies of a government agency which involved SOME of the Bishops. Isang maliit na tagas ng isang malaking banyera. Instead of looking at the bigger picture - the anomalies and financial scandals undertook by the past administration, they focused and pressed more on the issue of Bishops receiving SUVs.

If the Pajero Bishops are an issue, this doesn't mean that they ARE THE ONLY issue. I know that the past administration has much to answer regarding where did the many trillions of Pesos went, and I'm hopeful she would answer it all, but I did not expect that the Hierarchy would be cited exaggeratedly on this manner. Wala na po ang pansin sa mga dapat pagtuunan nito, bagkus ay nabaling ang init ng panahon sa mga Obispo na ang hangad ay makapaglingkod sa tao ayon sa naisin ng Diyos.

Naku! Yan kasi, pakielamero ang Simbahan. Kontra kayo ng kontra sa RH Bill, yan tuloy, tameme kayo dahil yung mga Obispo ninyo, tumatanggap pala ng kotse mula sa kaban ng bayan.

We would always say NO TO RH BILL, whether there may be another issue or not. It's clear for me, the folks out there are trying their best not to give proper focus to the controversial RH Bill, and to fight back against the Catholic Church who is always against it. Then later on, we may find out that the Congress have passed the Bill and is only waiting for the President to sign it. Who knows? This is reality. 

Here we go again, covering a pot with a cover so thick we couldn't notice it boiling, while we focus on another hot pot and say, 'Everything's fine! Kailangan lang na maayos natin itong isang kaserola.'

This is not a donation issue alone. This is an issue of dirty politics, and how the folks out there victimized the Catholic Church through their anomalies. Again I say, this they did with no malice. The consequences of which they're suffering now because a simple issue was tinted with much guilt. Biktima lang ang Simbahan ng panlalamang at makasariling interes ng ilan. At hindi ito nakakatuwa.

So, what can I say at the end of this?

To Bishop Pueblos and the Pajero Seven, What you did is good and beneficial for the faithful of your respective dioceses. But please, for the sake of good will, give back the SUVs to PCSO. As long as you have those cars, the eyes of the jealous would not go away from you. We are the Church, and you can live even without those luxury vehicles. God will provide!

To PCSO, Thank you for opening our eyes at what is the truth. Through your agency, we now know that there really is something fishy with the past administration. But please, do not press so much on the Bishops. They are merely victims like you. They came of goodwill to ask of something they may know you may provide, but they are also victims of pride and overlooking circumstance. Please stop pressing much on the prelates.

To the Senators, Continue probing for the truth. Diyan po kayo magagaling, at alam naming may maibubunga ang inyong mga ginagawa. 

To my fellow lay and faithful, WE ARE CHRISTIANS! ANG BUMATIKOS SA TAGAPAMUNO, AY PARA NA RING BUMABATIKOS KAY KRISTO! So stop criticizing; instead show more your love for our bishops especially now when they need it the most.

To Gloria, Malapit-lapit na po, Madam. Malapit-lapit na.

I end this post with the word from the Pastoral Statement of the CBCP. Listen to our Bishops: 'We express again our deep sorrow for the pain that the recent events have brought to you our beloved people. The good Lord knows our love for you.'

No comments:

Post a Comment