Much ado about nothing

The Roman Catholic Church should not be miffed when guys like Carlos Celdran engage in a performance art near an altar since no venue on this planet is safe from that thing they call free expression.

Just as the Vatican itself has been badgered by the organization of married priests for years, the local hierarchy must show that it has the capacity to listen and watch, think and act, and generally move against the horrible political inquisition that had happened since 2001.

These prelates cannot be stone deaf to issues like sexual abuse, something which moved Pope Benedict XVI to admit that priests must comport themselves with dignity and moral uprightness and not be lured into the ways of the flesh.

In effect, the church believes that it is the lack of appropriate formation that leads to priests taking liberties with acolytes and pupils, or curates doing a thing or two with devotees at the confessional and beyond.

On the matter of reproductive health rights, it is perhaps time for the prelates to reexamine their position since they had not done their bit in transforming the faithful into practitioners of the natural family planning methods.

Or is the case that the prelates had become irrelevant in this day and age, when all their sermons have fallen on deaf ears, when the demand of the flesh has become more significant than the requirements of faith and salvation, and when they had not heeded the call to defend those who have been oppressed and exploited?

Of course, the history of the colonial church shows just how it can be an institution that supports repression, with priests betraying a movement premised on national liberation rather than permanent Spanish dominion.

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church has been left by its lonesome to quibble about family planning when right in the US, the debate has been rendered moot. Catholic countries in Europe do not even discuss amending the law, as in Poland and Italy, where condoms are dispensed by machines rather by the health ministers.

There are no messy diatribe against family planning and contraceptives in Catholic Bavaria in Germany, the Pope’s home region, or in Austria, where many people wear their faith like a pin on a lapel.

Like many other institutions before it, the church in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America ended up as bastions of conservatism and the onslaught of evangelical churches forced it to move to attract indigenous communities, to the point of indigenizing Catholicism.

A church must live in communities where it wishes to thrive and it must be understood just as it must understand the culture where it seeks to gain deeper root.

Here, it must touch base with the teeming millions who can hardly pay their tithes and must be helped before they can even think of helping themselves.

Their problems are deeply rooted. They lack jobs, they cannot even feed themselves and they can even be a danger to themselves.

Where has the church been all these years? Joel Paredes


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