I agonized for a few days before finally writing down my thoughts on the issue of President Duterte’s statements on religion which drew flak from many Christian believers, even from his supporters and political allies.
The reason for my aimlessness was that I felt I did not have any moral authority to speak on the matter as I am not as religious as other believers, although I am a believer in Christ and over the years have been grounded in faith.
I am also aware that engaging in religious debates often results in more disagreements and even troubles.
I was born into a Roman Catholic family but became “born again” while attending college at the University of the Philippines-Diliman at a time when the born-again movements were very strong.
But because I was born in a peaceful and loving Catholic family and community that helped rear me, I continued up to this day to love, respect and support the Catholic Church and its people.
On some occasions, I still hear mass, although I have discontinued some practices and rites.
The President’s words came as a wake-up call on believers like me who are not as vocal and articulate about our faith, the reason why we fail to convince others of the existence not of God the Creator but of His presence in our lives.
True believers in the faith have reason to feel disappointed by the President’s statements.
We cannot blame Church leaders if they point out to him that he has erred in hurting the sensitivities of many Filipinos–especially in a predominantly Christian country like ours– because it is their responsibility to do so.
But I am certain that there are many of his Christian supporters and even government appointees who are as hurt as any other believer by his statements about religion but could not articulate their feelings to avoid generating disagreements and emotional discomfort.
Touching the President’s heart could best be done as by acts of love. Christians are duty-bound to, among others, preach the gospel to everyone in the world, help a fellow believer get back on the right path, do what is good because of God’s grace and defend others in need.
Personally, the President’s statements gave me reason to ponder and strengthen my belief; in fact, the weekend was spent soul-searching and reconnecting with God.
The President’s meeting with the CBCP last Monday would enable them to collectively engage in a bold, courageous and truthful dialogue and to candidly confront their many disagreements.
As a Christian, I pray that the Christian churches and the President engage one another intelligently and effectively, be open to confronting uncomfortable truths and finally reach an understanding and, hopefully, reconciliation.
– BEEN THERE, DONE THAT NI CODILLA